tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 10, 2012 8:00pm-1:00am EDT
>> our campaign 2012 live debate coverage continues next with congressman jeff flake facing richard carmona. the cooke political report rates this race as a tossup. the hour-long debate will be courtesy of arizona pbs. live coverage now on c-span >> it is the first debate between candidates for the seat vacated by jon kyl.
this is an open exchange of ideas, an opportunity for give- and-take between candidates for one of the state's most important offices. as such, interactions are allowed, provided that all sides get a fair shake and do our best to see that that happens. they are in a alphabetical order, democratic dr. richard carmona, the former u.s. surgeon general. congressman jeff flake. and libertarian mark victor. each candidate will have a opportunity for an opening statement. the honor goes to richard carmona. >> thanks, ted. i am happy to be with you and my colleagues. this is an opportunity -- the fact of the matter is is that over a year ago when my colleagues first approached me, the cops, the firemen and
ems personnel, and said there is an open seat, you should run. the first thing i said, is i will run as far away from washington as i can. i have been there. i was not sure i wanted to go back to the dysfunction. the more i thought about it, i realized that we need leadership there. this gridlock has hurt our nation. we have a fiscal cliff. congress has stalled. i have been very fortunate in my life. my mom only wanted one of her kids to graduate from high school i have been able because of a great country to get an education and go to medical school, to be a police officer and a professor. that is because we have a country that is full of opportunity. >> your time's up. dr. carmona, we turn to mark victor. >> i'm a person who believes in freedom. i believe in individual rights,
and individual responsibility. that is why we are a superpower because we have had more freedom relative to other countries. i am not a politician. i say what i think. i do not sugarcoat things. i cannot change my views based on the audience i am in front of. i keep my promises. i am a man of principle. i started my first business at age 17. i am an honorably discharged united states marine. i served in desert storm. i am a criminal defense attorney for 19 years. i started off my law firm in 2007 and i employ 11 full-time people at my firm. i know what it is like to run a small business. we have strayed far from the principles of limited government. our government taxes and spends out of control and our civil liberties are constantly under attack. we can fix it, but we need to get government back into its cagae. >> our final opening statement
is from jeff flake. >> good to be here. two days ago, cheryl and i received a wonderful phone call from my son syan and forming as we are grandparents. aidan was born into a wonderful family, but he was born into $50,000 of debt. his share of the federal debt we all hold. that is why the stakes in this election are so high. we have to have somebody who understands fiscal discipline. that has been my record in the house of representatives, where i fought my own leadership on issues like earmarks. they punish me for it, but i kept at it and we do not have earmarks any more. that is the kind of attitude i will take to the united states senate. my opponent have a great résume a. but a great resonate is not a plan. he has been running for a year now and we do not know where he stands on the major issues of the day. we have a choice in this election. we can elect somebody who does not have a plan, will be an echo
of the obama administration. or somebody who will continue to be an independent voice for arizona. i would appreciate your vote. >> thank you for your opening statements. let's fine tune things a little bit here. why you and not him? >> happy to have the opportunity. no, my life has been one that has been best exemplified by the infrastructure of opportunity that this nation has. i am a high-school dropout from an immigrant family. i have prospered because of this great infrastructure of opportunity in our nation. i have been able to serve my country as a physician, a police officer, as a professor, as a teacher. and doing all of those things has allowed me to appreciate how great this nation is. what i want to do is make sure we can preserve this infrastructure of opportunity so every kid can get that american dream. >> what you and not him? >> that is exactly it. that opportunity will not exist
unless we get a hold of this $16 trillion debt. that is why we have to have somebody who has a record, who is willing to stand up for that record. that has been my record in the house and that is the record i will take to the senate. it is the same reason, but i see that opportunity slipping away unless we can get this under control. >> why you instead of these two adjustment? >> the problem here is the republicans and the democrats. the two parties got us into this situation to begin with. we have had republicans in office, republicans controlling the presidency, we get more government. we have democrats, democrats controlling the congress and the presidency, we get more government. the republicans and democrats are not the solution. they are the problem. they caused the problem. we need a new plan which is an old plan. we need to get back to what our country is about which is freedom, individual rights, free
market, limited government. >> let's get into jobs and how the best way to create jobs in arizona, the best way to create jobs in this country. how'd you do that when so few people have jobs and the money to infuse into the economy? >> there are a lot of opportunities at this time. our state is suffering right now. when we look at arizona and the unemployment rate, the housing prices, the fiscal cliff, it's extremely. amid all of that, there is opportunity for us to grow. we have to look at this in short-term and long-term. what is it that we can do to bring jobs right now? what we have to do it is provide incentives to be able to get small business started again. we have to be able to look it infrastructure needs. one of the challenges as i have travelled around the state and i have gone to the old williams air force base. i have gone to the other air force base. i hear from the businessmen, we need infrastructure. what they tell me is,
congressman flake is not available because he believes these things are bad. i think we ought to be doing is working with business to create infrastructure to make arizona the most attractive place to live and people will come with their ideas and business will grow. even the mayor of mesa, who is a republic has said to me, we cannot depend on congressman flake. i will be there to provide that help to build infrastructure. >> respond, please. >> i will give him this. he is a quick study. is only been a democrat a year now. the source of jobs in this country is the federal government and not businesses. this notion that we have to have the federal government to provide incentives for business, what we really need is sure the on taxes and then to get a moratorium on these burdensome regulations that are strangling business in this state. the notion that all we need to
do is pick winners and losers like the obama administration has been doing, that is the wrong prescription for arizona. >> is there no place for incentives? >> the best incentives is to allow individuals and businesses to keep their own money and to let the market allocate capital. does it so much better than government does. as governor romney said very effectively the other day, president obama is trying to pick winners and losers. the problem is he is just picking losers. . >> the characterization that the congressman has mentioned is incorrect. what i am saying and i agree with them -- there are many things we agree on. the fact is is that we need an infrastructure to be able to build our businesses. so when we look at what actually is needed, we need innovators to come here. why would i come here? because there is infrastructure. again, if you look at some of the incubators we have created
already, they are dying to be able to have held off. congress and flake has pursued this earmarked ideology for a long time. in 12 years we are still struggling. our businessmen tell me that we need help. when you are a senator, you need to work with us. >> just a second. >> he has to respond regarding the year mark situation. you are known for fighting earmarks. >> we do not have the earmarks right now. that is a wonderful thing. businesses in cities and others can compete for federal grants on a merit-based basis rather than by political patron is. that was a terrible system we had, and it is a good riddance. i am proud of the road i played the role i played. the last thing we need is to go back to the earmark era where politicians in the house and senate are picking winners and losers. that is not what we need. what we need is for the federal government to establish and
create an environment where the private sector can flourish. >> talking about earmarks is exactly the kind of craziness we do not need any more. earmarked -- $16 trillion debt. earmarked account for 1/2 of 1% of the federal budget. we are better off, but talking about that is like talking about a drop of water in the ocean. the government does not create jobs. the private sector creates jobs. if you one example, take a look at texas. the people in texas are close to the people in arizona. why and there -- is their economy doing so fantastic? they are consistently ranked as one of the top state friendly to business. what does that mean? they mean lower taxes, low regulation. and not worry about government trading infrastructure. all the government has to do is get out of the way and let the free market to its bank. >> you have been criticized for not bringing home the bacon, not doing enough to get federal
money into arizona. how do you respond? >> most of the earmarks, in the transportation bill. that had 6300 earmarks, including the bridge to nowhere. arizona has been short of for a long time in our transportation largely because of the earmarks, because delegations from donor states will say, we will take a law or formal amount in exchange for a few goodies -- earmarks. that has meant that arizona has only got 90 cents on the dollar rather than $1 for $1. now we're marks are gone and the next authorization bill, arizona will get 95 cents on the dollar. that will mean hundreds of millions of dollars more for the state and a flexible manner. arizona is far better off. >> let's look at this. the fact of the matter is that all the remarks are not poor. there are necessities the federal government can provide. congressman has been in congress for 12 years. he has had this ideological strait. it accounts for less than 1% of
the budget. it is almost insignificant. his colleagues have figured out other ways to circumvent this. what we are talking about a smart investment in our communities. a republican mayor would reach out to me and say we need your help because congressman flake is unwilling to work with us. this is about infrastructure, this is about the federal government investing in a community and the return on investment will be huge when science and technology and engineering is in the incubators that we have here. >> hold on. >> there is this philosophy again that all jobs have to be treated by the federal government. that is why dr. carmona is comfortable party in comfortable priority, because that is the attitude of the obama administration -- that is why dr. carmona is comfortable in the democratic party. >> the fact of the matter is, i am not here to defend the obama
administration. i have been an independent my entire life. i understand what businessmen are telling me. we need help. we are willing to invest, but we need roads, sanitation, clean water. that is beyond the scope of small business. infrastructure will help entrepreneur is to take risks, to hire people, we will get schools and get economic growth. >> i wonder what the founders of our country would think about this very discussion. i wonder what they would think of the federal government taxing people in arizona and then having our representatives to go to washington and bad for our money back so we can have a road and schools. is on american. we need to stand up and take a principled stand -- it is unamerican. we need to decide how we spend our money. how about the people who made the money decide how to spend the money for a change? >> dr. carmona misunderstands how federal funding works. he says that earmarks make up
less than 1% of funding but acts the way that the only way arizona gets funding is through a earmarked. that is not the case. earmarks influence a lot more than that. it is good riddance to get rid of that. now businesses and municipalities and others can compete for grants where there are federal programs on a merit basis. that is better than political patronage. >> i want to work on to the idea of tax cuts for those making $250,000 ore more more. what to do with the bush era tax cuts? >> we have to extend them because we have to protect the poor and middle-class. so the fact is they need to be extended. i would be in favor of protecting the middle class and the poor. i have no problem with somebody like myself paying a little bit more tax now but in order to cut the deal in order to deliver and
protect the poor and middle class, i am ok with going to a full extension of the bush tax cuts with a proviso that my colleagues would agree that we stop kicking the can down the road because congress has failed to deliver on tax reform. this shows us that we are in trouble by continuing to kick the can down the road. >> a deal? >> we need to extend the tax cuts. now is not the time to raise taxes. people say this just for people making $250,000 ore more. a lot of businesses, our best corporations -- if you tax them more, these are jobs that are not created. dr. carmona seems to have a position on every side of this issue depending on the audience. i have read of several positions he has taken on this issue. >> how do you respond? >> congressman flake is trying to characterize me as something i am not. i have been an independent all
my life. i chose the democratic party because when i looked at the republican party and what congressman flake was doing voting against a veteran benefits, against the combat bonus, when i looked at whether the republican party was denying women access to health care and what they're were doing to seniors and putting them at risk, i could not line up with the republican party because it is not the republicans that were fiscally conservative that i used to know. it is not a perfect fit. but i am being is characterized because he is running from his record. >> one thing i can agree with is that the republican party today has nothing to do with the republicans that used to talk about small government. i know barry goldwater, had he been there, i'm sure if he asked mr. flake about his vote for the patriot act, i will bet he will roll in his grave. the bush era tax cuts do not do enough.
we need to abolish tax cuts -- taxes entirely. barack obama said he did not want to raise taxes on the middle class because the middle class buys cars. so did the rich. the rich spend money, too. the rich are part of the crowd that invest money to create jobs. that is what we need to be doing in america -- cutting everybody's taxes as far as possible. >> we got you. congressman, would you ok $3 and every $1ng cuts for and revenue? >> you will never get that bargain. i believe there are some republicans who say you go -- if you lower the top tax rate, that you cannot produce any new revenue for government. i do not believe that. i say if we generate new revenue, then pay down the debt faster, by down the rate further. so i am not one who says he cannot generate any new revenue.
there was a question a while ago about and ethanol subsidy that i have been trying to get rid of for years. we finally did. that is about $6 billion. some republicans said if you get rid of that -- it's price revenue neutral. get rid of a bad subsidy. >> to be clear, if it means getting rid of $3 in spending cuts, you have to raise revenue by $1. you are against that? >> you will never see it. every time we get a plan, we do not see the cuts. >> the congressman, what he is accusing me of, not answering the question -- he is not answering the question. >> i am saying i would not oppose. >> the idea that lower taxes equals growth means more revenue to the government. supply side, laugher curve, what ever you want to call it. valid? >> markets are much more complex than that. i am in agreement mark and with
the congressmen that we have to do everything we can to lower tax rates. we have dug ourselves into a hole because of the fiscal irresponsibility of congress. our gdp is exceeded by our debt. the fact is we have to do something about it. so we do not want to raise taxes now because that will push us further into recession but we need to start generating income. economic growth and we have to cut spending. that is what the congressman has said. i'm sure mark feels the same way. >> i would never, ever support raising anybody's taxes. >> for no reason? >> there is absolutely nothing that anybody could say to me that would justify me lining up to say i would invoke the power of government to take money away from my neighbor. people have the right to the money they earn. we are going off a financial cliff. if we do not do everything it immediately, the republicans and democrats together have taken this country to the brink of financial collapse. we need to cut government by 50%
just to get started. >> i have got to keep it moving. what was learned by the great recession? >> well, that you have to have an environment conducive to economic growth and we did not have that. we did not have a situation where private sector could move ahead. the private sector seeks certainty. you have to have certainty on taxes and right now we have certainty on regulations coming up. and we have a lot of that in the great recession as well. if you read "the forgotten man," it is a great tale of why some of the common knowledge about the great recession and how we got out of it had does not square with the facts. >> said those who say supply- side economics that we had during the bush term, and we've seen that for 30-odd years, that supply-side economics led to or helped lead to the great recession, he would say -- >> no. >> what would you say?
>> it is more complex than that. but i think that is a generally true statement. >> the republicans and democrats are continuing to do the same thing they have always done. who is here talking about getting our money back to the sound system? we need to get back on the gold standard. until we have that, we will have the government printing money out of control. we have the congress spending out of control. we are headed for financial disaster unless we have not tinkering around with earmarks, we need to be talking at this table about what departments of the federal government will be cutting on day one. there is along list. not earmarks. >> doctor, should medicare be reformed, should medicare be eliminated? >> i do not believe it should be eliminated. i think we should keep it but it needs to have an overhaul. the fact is, we are spending 18%
of our gdp on health care. but is really sick care. 75 cents of every $1 is spent on chronic diseases. there is a lot we can do it in savings. billion wasted in fraud and abuse. people need the help system. if they do not, that was shot in the emergency room and we all pay. having a system that will allow people to appreciate pursuit of optimal health and wellness to drive down the cost of care is going to help us. >> about of voucher system? >> a voucher system i am concerned about i am concerned with -- as it transfers the risk to the patient. the patient shops for health care. does not drive down the cost. the patient will still drive up costs because they are eating the wrong foods, they are smoking. the cost rises. parties got it wrong.
the costs will continue to rise from 18% of gdp to 25%. >> medicare, what do you think? >> it has to be reformed. we have heard what we have heard throughout this campaign, what somebody referred to as happy talk bromide that absolutely nobody could disagree with. we have to make sure that people have a greater health choices. we are facing a crisis here. medicare as we know what will and unless we reform it. will and for those who are currently in their senior years and it will and for others as well. what we have done in the house of representatives have put forth a plan -- it is not a voucher plan. it is called premier support for those under 55. will not affect those over age 55. but the doctor will criticize republicans are actually taking a position but he will not offer one of his own. >> the congressman is showing you what it is like to be a
chronic politician. he has been there for a dozen years and it is always somebody else's fault. republicans have it right, the democrats have it wrong. both parties have gotten it wrong repeatedly. you have to look at the short term and long term. the big cost drivers are chronic diseases, most of which are preventable. if you forget that, it will keep going up. if you give them a voucher, and you cannot do anything else, the cost of care continues to rise. >> let me addressed -- the crown a politician is one who will not take a position. -- the chronic politician is one who will not take a position. we have taken a position in the house of representatives. but the senate will not even pass a budget. the senate has not come under democratic control has not passed a budget in three years. is the planaying they have does not deal with the rising costs. it transfers the risk to the patient.
>> he asked, what is your plan? >> short-term there is a lot of fraud and abuse within the system you have to eliminate. you have the goal line by line to what the programs are to be able to reduce them. in the long term, you have to -- the public cannot do what they want to do -- smoke, drink excessively, do not wear seat belts. >> respond to this, please. >> there we are again, a statement nobody can disagree with. to put forth a plan, we get criticized for the democrats will not put forward a plan. we know that compromise is essential in washington. the problem is we have put our stake in the ground with the ryan budget. the senate will not put their own stake in the ground so we can say, here is the middle. perry brought water said that politics is nothing more than business. -- barry goldwater said that politics is nothing more than
business. armona'st get dr. cromna' party to put forth a plan. >> he says we have to eliminate fraud. if you think there is a lot of fraud now in the medicare- medicate world, wait until you see the kind of fraud and corruption in things that are over budget under president obama's healthcare plan. i am going to say something that is on popular because i would rather take a principled stand. number one, there is no support in our federal constitution for the federal government getting involved in anything related to health care. show me where it is in congress's powers and i will change my mind. number two, involving the federal government and healthcare is one of the worst decisions are country got involved in. we have a situation and we need to move in a way that does not cause harm to our citizens to
get out of that situation, but we need to stand up finally in our country, take a principled position that there needs to be our wall of separation between government and health care and government and most things. >> the for care act. how would you have voted? >> the way it is, -- the affordable care act. >> i would not have voted for the way it was. the reason is that i believe it is unsustainable in the long run. i was a surgeon general. as a nation, we could come together and not politicize health care and make sure that all people have access to health care. when we look at adding 32 million people into the system, the way the business plan is set up to take money from doctors and hospitals, they are being threatened. they are not signing up to take more medicare patients. i would encourage the president -- is a big document. it is complicated. it rolled up too fast. business plan needs more work. i am fully behind the aspiration to ensure that every american
has access to basic health care. >> single payer plan? would you be in support of that? >> the fact of the matter is it would not work. we teach that school. will never be able to get it done in this congress. >> the affordable care act. >> i know how you feel. >> we do not know how dr. carmona feels, because when he started this campaign he said he supported it. it is on tape. now he is saying he does not. you have broken new ground because you have gotten him to take a new position tonight. >> the congressmen, again, is mischaracterizing. what i said and what they take out of snippets when they do their videos is that i fully, 100% support care for all. then i would have the provides. here is the problem with the aca. yes, i am a doctor. but people have to participate in the system. they cannot get a car and drive up the cost of care and expect the government to pay for it. >> they have to participate
whether they want to participate or not. how does that mesh with what we are about in america? we are free country. the federal government will get involved and say what you like it or not, you are part of the system. everywhere else in the world, this has been tried, every version will result in rationing. we will go from the belt health care on the planet to one of the worst -- the best health care to one of the were. >> this is a new position. dr. carmona has been on each side of this. in 2010, when the democrats took a bath nationwide, according to the fema county recorder's office, dr. carmona did not even vote in the primary or the general election. it is not surprising that we have someone who will not take a position on most issues and when he does he abandons it soon afterwards. >> that is certainly on this characterization again. the congressman is doing all he can to run from his record. the fact of the matter is, where
we need to be spending time is talking about why is the blocking access to health care to women? why is he not supporting our veterans? i am a combat veteran. he voted against the gi, the veterans' benefits. he voted against the transition and the combat -- he voted against many other areas repeatedly. when i looked at his legislative record over the years, i mean, it was reprehensible how he has done so many things. the fact of the matter is he is putting people at risk whether it is social security, medicare, our veterans, and women especially. >> yes? >> especially with women right now because the fact of the matter is is he who partnered with congressman akin on that bill to define legitimate rape. >> start with a veteran's benefits because we've heard this. i want you to respond. >> you bet. if you been in washington for more than a year, you voted on a
thousand pieces of legislation. i voted for more than 100 veterans bills in my time in congress. dr. carmona will pick three or four bills that have veterans and the title that work larded up with extraneous items. one of them, we have funding for the national science foundation who funded a study $150,000 to determine why politicians give a vague answers. that was part of it. to vote for a bill simply because it has a veterans is that -- in the titles is why we have a budget deficit of $1.30 trillion and a $16 trillion debt. >> the question would be, is it worth not getting these benefits to the veterans if it means no more lard? >> what happens is those bills will be brought right back. they are popular pieces of legislation. people want to support veterans and they should. when this ad ran that claimed that i would deny care for
veterans with missing limbs and legs, it did. it showed pictures of them. my father is a korean war veteran. my brother has done to terms -- tours in afghanistan, two in iraq. april white, when she saw that ad, she called our office and said that may be sick because when i cannot get the benefits i was due only one person without the and that was jeff flake. >> let's look at the facts. we can stipulate -- my father and uncle served in combat. my brother served 30 years and special forces. that is not the issue. the congressman is trying to evade the issue. there are three specific bills he voted against those issues. it is not only me. the iraqi-afghanistan veterans organization gave him an f. the vietnam veterans gave him a zero. organizations to follow these things says he voted on the wrong side and the time when our kids need the support the most because they are coming home
with traumatic brain injuries and amputations and he voted against it. >> this is part of the problem with politics. everybody is afraid to say, i am in favor of not giving more to veterans. i am a combat veteran. i daren't up -- i served under the gi bill. i was happy to do that because i served my country. what i support as a senator everything that's said veteran on it to give more to veterans? no. because we have a job which is to get our spending under control. rather than talking about that, would you want to help the veterans? we need to get out of this ridiculous afghanistan situation. how did we get into this iraq situation. >> we will get to foreign affairs and a second. senator john mccain, a veteran we all respect, saw that at that dr. carmona ran and said it was deplorable that -- to insinuate that i would deny care of veterans. it is deplorable. >> he can defend it, run from
it, have excuses. the fact of the matter is, he voted against it. that is not by me. that is by the veterans' associations i quoted. >> let's move forward with a topic that is always front and center in arizona, and that is immigration. congressman, we had on the program talking about this. you have been criticized for changing your position. is that criticism valid? >> no. we have to have broadbased immigration reform. we have to do more than secure the border. but the reality is in washington for those of us who have worked on this issue across party li nes, worked with senator kennedy on this issue. for 10 years i worked on this issue and hit my head against a brick wall like everyone else. myself, senator jon kyl, senator mccain realize that until we to have border security nobody will trust the of federal government to move ahead on other items. we have to have a border security in the tucson like we
have in the yuma sector. >> we hear that alot. what is a secure border look like? when is the border secure enough for reform? >> i can tell you exactly. there is the metrics that is used -- the yuma sector, we have operational control. if an illegal alien crosses the border, we have a reasonable expectation of catching them. that is what we have in the yuma sector. i worked with the democrat who endorsed me who will say that we have operational control. we do not have anything approaching that in the tucson sector. once we get that, we can move on to the other reforms. >> hold on. should we be adopting comprehensive immigration reform now as opposed to waiting for a secure border? >> we absolutely should, because the fact is i do work on the border as a deputy sheriff. i understand the border better
than most. it is not just a theoretical construct. i have been there. that is a dynamic issue. the congressman, trying to take what is happening in yuma and transfer it to tucson sector does not transfer easily. we need to have comprehensive immigration reform and we need it now. the congressman, when it is politically correct, he flips and flops. when he was running his primary, he was off to the right, we only need this control. he had sarah palin and he talked about her endorsement. as soon as the premier was over, he starts moving back to the center. he goes on hispanic television and told them, i will take care of you and do something for you. he is playing a political game. we need comprehensive immigration reform now. no sense in stalling. >> have to have a secure border. if we have learned anything the
last couple of years with the death of brian terry, we need to have other reforms. we have to make sure that our labor needs are met. we have to deal with the humane -- in a humane way with those that are here now. individuals that are here that were brought when there were two years old. it is a complex issue but has to start with border security. >> it is not that complex of an issue. we did not have these kinds of problems many years ago. we came from a place where the statue of liberty was facing outward. we had waves of immigrants who walked into our country and the late 1800's and early 1900's. we did not even have a term illegal immigration. the problems at the border are a function of the fact that we have not -- we have an ever- increasing welfare state. if people want to come to the u.s. for the purpose of pursuing happiness, like they did in the late 1800's, that does nothing but good for america, just like it did then. if people are coming here perfect of its, the way?
that is get rid of the benefits. -- people are coming here for the benefits, the way you fix that is get rid of the benefits. the drug war is why we are having a problem at the border. if we do not address the drug war, we cannot get the border situation under control and we cannot get our justice system under control. no one is talking about ending the drug war. the need to end the drug war. >> should comprehensive immigration reform include a path to citizenship for those already here? >> i think it should. when i looked at comprehensive immigration reform, the concept of securing the border is a dynamic one. there is never a day when he would be able to say the border is secure because our adversaries have countermeasures. we have seen that for years. until we decrease demand by this side for whatever people are coming for, we will not be able to secure it. it will be an ongoing challenge every day. but we need comprehensive immigration reform. i support that and i support the dream act. but are not citizenship.
we have to stop letting congress use this as a divisive, political wedge. president bush and senator kennedy came up with a great idea. two different politicians acted in a statesmanlike way to provide as a plan, a pathway to citizenship in the dream act. >> for those that say that plan as a shortcut for amnesty, you say -- >> i do not think so. it is a solution to a complex problem. the fact is, you will not be able to support 12 million people in the united states. so you need a reasonable way to adjudicate this problem. and i think president bush and senator kennedy had it right and congress failed them. >> do you support the dream act? >> the dream act, if it has certain provisions in it. i introduced the strive act. with it was included a version of the dream act the did not mandate the state's offer in- state tuition.
we have to deal with those who were brought here illegally. if the version of the dream act is good, i will. >> does this mean that he believes that were brought here it -- that those that were brought here as children need to go back to their country and reapply for entry to the united states? >> i do not think so. i think we can find a way to deal with that, but it has to be part of a broader picture. >> then you had before. thes tory changes. >> i introduce legislation for this. how can it be different? >> congressman, you flipped on a number of times depending on where you are in the political cycle, to ingratiate yourself. >> that's not ture. ." rue. >> i was in court today representing someone who was illegal. the judge sentenced him to several months, got 16 months in prison. now we all as taxpayers have to
pay to put him up in the bureau of prisons. this is ridiculous. he did not come here. he came here like most americans -- he did not come here looking for a benefit here he came here looking for work. he was shoveling gravel in me ixco. xico. but if we get this crazy national health care thing, if we wind up keeping this nutty, more government involvement with health care, what we are doing is we are sending a call to attract people. come here and use the government benefits. we are creating a welfare state. >> you just said it is a fiction that they are coming for benefits and now he said they're coming for benefit. >> some of them might be coming here for benefits. i know there are people who come here to have birth and had the baby said they can both get citizenship as well as get the pregnancy coverage. we need to eliminate that. no person has a right to live at the expense of another person. that is an american principle we
have forgot about in this country. we need to get back to that. >> congressman, how much should the united states police the world? >> i think we ought to detect our national security interests abroad. it ought to start with what is our national security interests, does our activity overseas for that interest? and two there are other reasons to be active overseas and one is humanitarian. it is a great thing we respond to natural disasters or intervene sometimes when we can save lives. but the foremost thing in our thinking has to always be, does this activity for the national security goals of united states? >> your colleagues have criticized the administration for leading from behind. do you agree? >> i do not know how to characterize it, but it is a bit schizophrenic. we are seeing on the libya situation, where the administration simply cannot decide what it believed and when in terms of why our ambassador got killed.
was it in response to a video that came out? that is what the obama administration said for a couple of weeks. now they are conceding, it seems, that this was a calculated effort by probably an al qaeda operative. >> our position in the world, is that where we should be? should we be more or less involved? >> what we have to do is ask the question, what is the global footprint we need to protect our national interest and also the allies were obligated to? the congressman mentions the issue and libya. the fact of the matter is, having been in the military and having been in the department of defense, health policy board, dealing with issues, we know intelligence built over time. it is difficult sometimes to ascertain specifically what happened. i am not offending anybody, but some of these issues are more complex. what is the and the congressman is typical, chronic politicians stuff. everybody is wrong on the other side.
the democrats and republicans do it. and everyone of these issues. i think it is really, really unfair because is it -- these issues are much more complex. when the incident happens, you do not have all of the intelligence. you wait and see. >> chronic politicians. >> the other side is wrong. since i have been and the congress, i have been able to pass more floor amendment then my republican colleagues. in the past four years, no democrat or republican has passed more floor amendments that i have. that can only come when you work well with the other side, when you have the temperament to sit down and work with people. i have worked with others in farm subsidies. i worked with luis gutierrez on some immigration is huge. this notion that i blame the other side. ord shows you vote
more than michelle bachmann with your party. >> congressman jeff flake, abandon me on the issue of immigration. it was not bipartisanship. when he needed to move, he abandoned me and did not falter when he said he was going to do. >> do we want to talk about who abandoned whom? the obama administration had two years of republican house and senate and they did not introduce the same reforms that had been introduced before. >> this is all politics. we are not the world police. we are not supposed to be the world police. you go back to george washington and he was saying, to not be the world police. what i want to know from the congressman is, will he admit he got hoodwinked on iraq? the government sold us a bill of goods about weapons of mass
destruction for a country that has the gdp of a small city that was no threat there. it was no threat made or no ability to harm the united states, but here we are nine years into a war in iraq for 4,5000 servicemen dead. he got faked out on that one. that is something we should not have been involved in. i wonder if the congressman would admit he was wrong? /20.indsight is 202 you had virtually the entire congress move along with the resolution to go to war. >> there is something happening in iran with nuclear weapons that is getting a lot of attention. how can we handle the threat of nukes in iran? >> right now there is an embargo. two step process -- they have to
enrich and graham so much that they can weapon eyes. they are not there yet. the estimates are six months, maybe a year away. if we can get china and russia to cooperate, we can make the embargo hurt them. right now, there are substrates flying over syrian air space. we need to do everything we can to prevent them from getting nuclear capability. the problem is, if they do, it is not as a threat to israel. we have an extremist group with nuclear capability. that would be a point where we have to act to prevent that from happening. >> do we have the resources to act? we can do it if we want but we have had a couple of wars. >> we are broke. we have the debt up to the level of our gdp. it is something we do not want to do, but to protect our nation and to make sure that extremists do not have nuclear capability, we might have to act. >> iran. all options have to remain on the table. we hope we do not have to go there. >> that's every option.
>> one second. back to iraq. this is why before we send troops around the world for things like iraq, congress is supposed to declare war. they did not. that should have been a debate. rather than sit there and get hoodwinked by the administration, now 4005 under servicemen dead, congressman should have a debate before they send troops abroad. the situation with iran, america has a right and obligation to defend its citizens. if there is a threat over there, and there may well be, if that threat becomes imminent we have an obligation to act to protect our people. but i am not going to get hoodwinked. i will be a lot slow on the trigger to go after country like iraq that really did not have any capabilities. >> obviously, the campaign is for the senate. the filibuster has been used in this current united states senate a lot. has it been abused? >> i think every party will say
the other party abuses. i like the system. i like the requirement to get 60 votes. it requires working across the aisle. that is something i am well- suited for. i would not vote to get rid of the filibuster. sometimes it is abused by both parties. >> 1917-1970, 57 vloturcloture votes. the current senate, 109. >> you have a dysfunctional son. we have not had a budget passed in more than three years -- we have a dysfunctional senate. the last time they passed the budget, the ipad had not been invented yet. >> can it be functional if the filibuster is rearing its head? >> it can. we have had a filibuster for years. senator john mccain said that this is the first time in 51 years the senate has not passed a defense authorization bill. so the problem right now -- i do
not think we will convince harry reid to change his stripes. in an election year, you do not have to convince. you have to replace. that is why we need a republican majority. >> given the people we have in congress, i would rather see gridlock then them getting through some of the crazy ideas, putting us more in debt like raising the debt ceiling. you know it is coming again. you know congressman how flake will look for it. maybe he will correct me and only book for raising the debt ceiling when there is a republican president --and only vote for raising the debt ceiling when there is a republican president rather than have these people marched on the same road, we are better off with gridlock. we need to change hearts and minds. >> i want to know your opinion on the filibuster. is it being abused? should it be done away with? >> it is being abused. i would favor doing away with it. it is being abused. >> you do not think it is being used properly. >> it is not. >> before ago, a couple of quick
questions. are you a member of tea party? >> no. >> are you proud to be backed by tea party? >> you bet. >> dr. carmona, we have heard that you are at times in the past have been difficult to deal with, difficult to get along with, your temper and has been questioned. how you respond? >> i have had tough jobs. when i was asked to come in and run the county health system. the board wanted to save the hospital. we saved the hospital. i have had tough positions throughout my life and sometimes leadership requires you to take this tough decisions. every one of these issues that have come up, when i was vetted to be surgeon general, and they were all locked up here the fact is that i got a unanimous senate confirmation. i think the senate saw there was no merit in any of those allegations. >> and he would be able to cooperate with others in the
senate. there is a question of whether or not is on my way or the highway situation with you. >> it is that way and the senate right now. as surgeon general, i got things done because i was able to work both sides of the aisle. i worked for one of the most conservative president in history -- president george bush. i work with democrats and republicans on issues of health, safety and security for the nation. >> did you sign the cover norquist no tax pledge? >> no. >> would you sign it? >> no. the only place i signed it is a pledge to sign no more pledges. we have got to ensure that we go back and represent our constituents and away -- i believe the limited government, economic freedom, individual responsibility. i do not want higher taxes. >> we have to stop right there. you will get your closing statement. each candidate will give a one minute closing statement. going in reverse order of the opening statements, we start with jeff flake.
>> thank you, all. this has been a great debate. the hallmark of this country has always been that the next generation will have a better than the previous generation. that is certain hallmarks of arizona where the beauty of the sunset is only eclipsed by the beauty of the sun rise the next day. we have got to insure that we have somebody who understands the proper role of the federal government, that it is there to establish a tax environment and a regulatory environment where businesses can floors but it does not do much more. right now we have a federal government that is too large. $16 trillion debt. $1.30 trillion deficit. we need somebody who will stand up and fight. i have that record in the house. that is the record i will take to the senate. that is why i appreciate your vote. thank you. >> our next closing statement is from mark victor. >> our country was founded upon freedom. we are about individual rights
and responsibilities and free markets. we are about being free to vote -- and define and pursue your own happiness. it is about americans in charge of themselves. these are our principles. we have strayed so far from these principles. we have a busybody government that is into everything, it regulates and taxes everything and everyone to death. it is involved in our lives cradle to grave. over $16 trillion in debt and growing ever higher. the highest incarceration rate in the world. over 2 million in prison. perpetual war is that we keep paying for with more debt and human lives. we are speeding in the wrong direction. and guess who is driving? it is the republicans and the democrats. if you like how things are going, do not vote for me. >> we have to stop you right there. our final closing statement is from richard carmona. >> i appreciate the opportunity
to be with you. you've heard the debate tonight with a lot of different issues. obviously, we have to get our spending in check. we also absolutely need to look at how we can protect economic growth. but what i am running for, i want to make sure that every kid has an opportunity to appreciate the american dream, just like i did. the fact of the matter is congress is broken. congressman flake has been there for a dozen years. we have communities that are struggling in arizona. people have reached out and said, when you are a senator, you need to help us. these remarks -- it is not about earmarks. it is about us having infrastructure growth and opportunity. i will not run to be worried about being reelected. i want to run because i want to change washington and make sure we have an infrastructure of opportunity for all those kids to want to move forward. >> thank you, all, canada its.
thank you for watching a special vote 2012 debate featuring candidates from arizona's open seat. be sure to join us between the candidates in district 9. that is thursday, october 18, on arizona horizon. to replay this debate, visit our vote 2012 site at azpbs.org/vote2012. i'm ted simons. you have a great evening. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> coming up next, the house oversight committee hearing looking into the system are alive and attacks on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. then another chance to see the senate debate between senator scott brown and elizabeth warren. that is followed by the arizona senate debate you just saw between, jeff flake, richard carmona and mark victor.
on tomorrow morning's "washington journal", a professor julien zelizer discusses the vice-presidential debate. then the look at key u.s. house harrison. th guy "washington journal" live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> this month, as the presidential candidates meet for debate, we are asking middle and high school students to send a message to the president as part of this year's c-span student cam video competition. students will answer the question -- what is the most important issue the president should consider in 2013? for the chance to win the prize of $5,000, and there is $50,000 of total price is available, the competition is open to students great 6312. for complete details, go online
to studentcam.org. >> the state department official formally in charge of security in libya said the department had no long-term plan for protecting embassy staff in that country and was unresponsive to his personal request. the house oversight committee heard testimony from federal -- several state department officials in response to the 9/11 attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi that killed ambassador chris stevens and three other americans. this is just over four hours.
>> the committee will come to order. would you please take your seats? perhaps most appropriately today and the oversight committee mission statement reads "we exist to secure two fundamental principles. first, that americans have a right to know that the money washington takes from them is well spent. second, americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them. our duty on the oversight and government reform committee is to protect these rights. solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to
taxpayers, because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their government. so it's our job to work tirelessly in partnership with citizen watchdogs, delivered the facts to the american people, and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy." this is the mission of the government oversight and reform committee. on september 11, 2012, careful you are brave americans serving their country were murdered by terrorists in benghazi, libya. tyrone would spent two decades as a navy seal, serving multiple sources in iraq, afghanistan, since 2010 he protected the american diplomatic personnel. tyrone woods leaves behind a widow and three children. glen doherty, also a former navy seal and an experienced paramedic had served his country in iraq and afghanistan. his family and colleagues are grieving today for his death. sean smith, a communications specialist joined the state
department after six years in the u.s. air force. he leaves behind a widow and two young children. ambassador chris stevens, a man i had known personally during his tours, u.s. ambassador to libya, ventured into a volatile and dangerous situation as libyans revolted against the longtime kaddafi regime. he did so because he believed the people of libya wanted and deserved the same things we have, freedom from tyranny. we join here today expressing from this side of the desk our deepest sympathy for the loss of life of the families in libya. additionally, other americans were injured in this terrorist attack. some suffering very serious injuries. i spoke to the father of one american who is recovering in the united states military hospital.
he hopefully will have a full recovery, but he has gone through supplemental surgeries that will require a long recuperation and long reconstruction. mr. davis state department began a process of coming clean about what occurred in benghazi -- yesterday the state department began the process. they issued a broad and definitive statement, headed by ambassador kennedy, and they made witnesses available and interviews. they made every effort from what we can tell to ensure that the people we wanted to talk to were available to us. more importantly, yesterday they held a broad news conference over the phone in which they made it very clear that it had never been the state department's position that this assault was part of the reaction to a video.
this is corroborated by numerous witnesses and whistleblowers at. contrary to earlier assertions by the administration, there was no protest. cameras reveal that from the state -- and the state department and fbi and others have that video. the video in california made by individual out there for a period of time also clearly had no direct effect on this attack. it was september 11, the 11th anniversary of the greatest terrorist attack in u.s. history in new york, pennsylvania, and at the pentagon. it was that anniversary that caused an organization aligned with al qaeda to attack and kill our personnel. i deeply appreciate secretary clinton's efforts to cooperate
with this investigation. she stepped in and instructed her people to cooperate and they have. additionally, if i have had conversations directly with the secretary and i believe our service together since 2001 in the u.s. congress plays no small part in her recognition of the role we serve on both sides of the dome. today, however, this hearing has been called for the express purpose of examining security failures that led to the benghazi tragedy. safe-haven within the compound, which some state department officials seemed to think could protect the benghazi compound inhabitants, did not work. in retrospect, it cannot be expected to work. the overall level of security at the compound did not meet the threat or standards under any reasonable assessment for a facility of this kind. today's hearing is the result
of concerned citizens with direct knowledge of the events in libya a ultimately reaching this committee. as we look back on what occurred, our challenge is to identify things that clearly went wrong and what the benefit of hindsight will be for the men and women serving at dangerous locations around the world. accounts from security officials who were on the ground and documents indicate that they repeatedly warned washington officials about dangerous situations in libya. instead of moving swiftly to respond to these concerns, washington seemed to go with the concept of normalization. it accounts we have heard it, it included artificial time lines for removing american security personnel and replacing
them with local libyans. requests for extensions of more security by the mission in libya appeared to have often been rejected or even officials in washington told diplomats in libya cannot even to make them. or if you make them they will not be supported. we know the tragedy in benghazi ended as it did. we now know that it was caused by a terrorist attack that was reasonably predictable to eventually happen somewhere in the world, and especially on
september 11. in closing, as secretary clinton has impanel a blue- ribbon board to fully investigate what occurred, it is much broader for us and for that panel to take up an additional challenge. there are hundreds and hundreds of facilities similar to this around the world. there are thousands of personnel serving this country who at any time in any country could be a target. some of those are high risk and obvious like libya. others may be lower risk. this committee is dedicated to ensure that security is taken differently than it was leading up to the events here. we owe it to our federal employees who put themselves and their families in harm's way around the world. the history of these panels is
that they deliver full and complete results and pull no punches. admiral mullen is no stranger to controversy and getting to the bottom of it. so i do encourage all to look at the final results of the blue-ribbon panel. but today it is 30 days since the september 11 attack, more or less. it is a long time to wait if you are sitting in cairo, in algeria, in beirut, in damascus, and you don't trust that the security measures you need have occurred. today we begin the process of saying they must be able to trust, because you must be able to assure them that you are doing your work differently than just a short time ago. >> today we expect full cooperation from our panel and we expect to get to the truth.
but it will be a much longer time before all the facts are known. we do not intend to flesh out all the facts. we intend today on a bipartisan basis to ensure that we begin the confidence building for our men and women serving this country around the world, that we will insure that they be protected and, if anything, protected more than the perceived threats, and never less. with that i recognize the ranking member for his opening comments. and then by unanimous consent, the chairman of the subcommittee on national security and his counterpart will be recognized for opening statements. all other members will have seven days in order to put their opening statements in the record. i recognize mr. cummings. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me be clear. we do grieve the loss of our
fellow countrymen. the not just your side of aisle, mr. chairman. is this side of the aisle and our entire country. we grieve the loss of ambassador christopher smith, sean smith, glen doherty, and tyrone woods. i believe we should conduct a thorough and responsible investigation into the attack on the u.s. mission in benghazi. we need to carefully, very carefully, investigate allegations that have been made over the past week. and we need to run them to the ground before we jump to conclusions. we should not be about the business of drawing conclusions and then looking for the facts. let me start by thanking secretary clinton and the state department for cooperating
fully with this committee. they agreed to all of our witness requests. they offered additional witnesses beyond those requested. they promptly organized interviews with the department officials. they have been collecting documents saw by the committee. today there are several specific allegations i would like to ask the witness is about. for example, \ mr. nordstrom, former regional secretary officer in tripoli, he told a committee there should have been five diplomatic security agents in benghazi. in other interviews we conducted yesterday, we learned that there were five agents in benghazi on the day of the attacked. should there have been even more? we will ask him about this and i hope he will be prepared to answer this, since there have been selling allegations in the
press saying that there were not. and we will ask the state department for its views as well. another witness, colonel andrew wood said he believes the military stationed in tripoli should have had term extended because of security concerns in libya. just yesterday we learned that this was extended not once but twice. should it have been extended the third time? we need to ask where else was it needed and at were its functions being fully served by others on the ground by the time it left the country? we should listen carefully to these and other allegations. we should listen just as carefully to the responses. i am disappointed to say that although the chairman claims we are pursuing this investigation on a bipartisan basis, that has not been the case. for example, the chairman
concealed his interactions with the colonel until friday night when he appeared on national television and then refused a request to mcconnell available so we could speak with him to ask him basic questions and prepare for hearings. we cannot even get a phone number. the chairman has withheld documents that were provided to the committee, which is in violation of the house rules. he effectively excluded democrats from a congressional delegation to libya this past weekend and we were told about the trip less than 24 hours before it was to take place. it's a shame they are resorting to such petty abuses in what should be a serious and responsible investigation of this fatal attack. the problem is that these acts have denied members of this committee the ability to effectively and efficiently investigate this incident. the members on this side of the
aisle are just as concerned as the members on the other side of the aisle. we need to represent 700,000 of these people too. we want to make sure that all the questions are answered. in contrast, on the senate side, every member of the foreign relations committee, democrats and republicans alike, joined in a bipartisan letter to the state department requesting information on the attack. so, what do we do today? what do we do today? my goal is to try in some way to put this at partisanship behind us and focus on the security of our personnel at. every two years we put our hands up and swear to protect the people of the united states of america, as members of congress.
all of us do that, not just republicans or democrats, but all of us. those people that we promised to protect are not limited to just the folks within our shores and our boundaries of this nation but those people who go out and put their lives on the line every day for us in foreign lands. the chairman has said our committee will examine not only the libya attack but security at outposts across the middle east. mr. chairman, i fully support this effort. if that is our goal, we have to examine the funding. the fact is that since 2011 the house has cuts embassy security by hundreds of millions of dollars below the amounts requested by the president. the house has done that. the senate restored some of these funds, but the final amounts were still far below the administration requests. there were far below the levels that we enacted in 2010. mr. chairman, i just heard what
you said about making sure that we do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again. i join you in that statement. we can do better. i would like to ask the chairman to join me in doing so. mr. chairman, i ask you to join me in calling on our leaders in the house to immediately consider supplemental funding bill to restore funding for embassy security that was cut by the house over the past few years. according to the joint committee on taxation, we could save $2.5 billion per year just by eliminating the tax breaks for oil companies. even republicans now agree we should do this, including governor romney. we could fully replenished these embassy security accounts with just a fraction of that amount. restoring our commitment to embassy security could make a real difference to thousands of americans who serve our country overseas, often in extremely dangerous circumstances, as you
just stated. i do agree with you that we should act with the utmost urgency. every single moment count. from this day forward, it's my hope that our committee will pearly investigate this matter in a truly bipartisan manner. because our dedicated foreign service personnel and our nation deserve nothing less. with that i yield. >> i thank the gentleman. i might note for the record that i said this side of the desk relative to all of those in the audience. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. >> although you did not name a particular rule you say i violated -- >> we will provide you with that, but we want to get on with the hearing. i promise i will provide that to you. >> with that i would ask unanimous consent that our
colleagues, mr. rohrabacher, and ms. adams be allowed to participate. and now, mr. chafee. >> i believe we have a moral imperative to pursue this. we have four dead americans. we have others that are critically injured. our thoughts and prayers are with those people and their families. we cannot thank them enough for their service and dedication to our nation. and thank you to the people on this panel for participating, because i know you care about people in this country. it's a very serious situation. we have to understand how we got here. before 9/11/2012 and after the revolution in libya, there was a tumultuous and difficult situation.
i like to enter into the record a document provided to us by mr. eric nordstrom, dated october 1. >> without objection, so ordered. >> i would like to read the last paragraph of that statement. "these incidents paint a clear picture that the environment in libya was fragile at best and could degrade quickly. certainly not an environment where posts should be directed to normalize operations and reduce security resources in accordance with an artificial timetable." of all the things i have seen and read, that is one of the most disturbing. i appreciate the guts of those that stood up and will provide us with information. because it does take guts to do
it. i will ask that we have some photographs. broad daylight, june of 2012, a two-car convoy carrying the british ambassador was ambushed military-style with rocket- propelled grenades in benghazi. these pictures seem to be out of order. i'm sorry. there we go. this was an attack literally weeks before when happened in benghazi. next slide. and the next. and the next. and the next. these pictures are of an attack that happened in benghazi. the first was the fish bomb. this was the compound in benghazi before the attack. go to the next slide. the second bombing was an improvised explosive device placed on the north gate, breaching the wall. it was a test and we did not acknowledge it. we pretended it did not happen.
it was a terrorist attack on the u.s. assets in libya and it was never exposed. we pretended it did not happen. the third time the terrorists came to attack us, they were even more successful, killing four americans. i personally believe, with more asset, more resources, we could have saved the life of ambassador stevens. the reason we have those details is mysterious. news outlets were not invited. any reasonable person looking at the security situation in libya had to come to the conclusion that it was a tumultuous, at best. i wish i could tell you everything i have learned. i did go to libya.
i did drop everything. i had the same type of notice that was given to the democrats. the state department sent an attorney to follow me with every footstep. to suggest you did not have an opportunity to go was absolutely wrong. i wish i could share everything i learned there, but we have to be careful about the sensitive information and sources in a classified setting. i think some of the information the state department has shared has overstepped some of those bounds. let us be careful today to not reveal some of that classified information. it has been too difficult to get basic information. i will tell you that when i was in libya, a good part of the day, never once did a person ever mentioned a video. never. i am fascinated to know -- from the president of the u.s. and the secretary of state and the ambassador to the united nations, how they could justify that this video? cost of the video
it was a terrorist attack. l's be honest. i look forward to the hearing. and god bless the men and women who serve us. i thank you for being here. and let's always remember those who serve this nation. i yield. >> i thank the gentleman. the gentleman is correct. both sides were informed once we had gotten clearance for libya. with that we recognized the gentlelady from the district of columbia for response. >> the tragic events in benghazi point out the hazards of serving our country go far beyond the military. i agree with mr chaffee that
perhaps had there been more -- chafetz that perhaps had there been more resources we might have had a different result. but i must note that while the republican budget increases the budget of the defense department, it slashes the budget that would have protected these diplomats. i must note that while the republican budget increases the budget of the defense the ambassador chris stevens and three others who died were man of unusual courage and died heroically protecting their mission. the best tribute to the ambassador comes from the mourning in the streets we saw from the citizens of benghazi and libya. it must be said that ambassador
stevens did something that you rarely see in diplomatic work across the world. a little more than a few months after the arab spring, he had already established an entirely new and promising relationship between the united states of america and libya. what an extraordinary man he must have been. i thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing this afternoon, even in the midst of a campaign. it was and is important to hold a hearing now when memories are fresh. i certainly want to go on record for thinking the state department, especially ambassador clinton, for what the chairman says has been a
very open cooperation of the department with this hearing. i want to suggest that when there has been loss of life of this kind in service to the united states, there can be no difference between democrats and republicans in designing a hearing to discover exactly what transpired. that is why i regret that the spirit of bipartisanship and openness that came from the state department has not occurred here in this committee, that there has not been the sharing of information and witnesses so that both sides could be prepared to question witnesses and find out exactly what has happened.
i yield the remainder of my time. >> i thank my colleague and welcome the witnesses here today. i join my colleagues in expressing the desire for a bipartisan inquiry, and i certainly hope the committee will endeavor to make it generally bipartisan. i regret the fact the trip to libya occurred with no members of this side of the aisle in attendance. i had the privilege of going with the republican chairman of the rules committee to libya in may. it is an unstable situation. it was then, it is now. it is one we americans hope will stabilize over time. i certainly hope today's hearing is not going to be perceived as an effort to exploit the tragedy for political purposes 27 days out from an election. i hope it is the down payment of a serious inquiry into how can we make this kind of thing
not recur. how can we double our efforts to provide security to the brave men and women who served in the foreign service. how can we make sure we take a fresh look at the resources and make sure we're providing them on a bipartisan basis. no good is done to the security of the united states to politicize this tragedy. i cannot imagine that the late ambassador chris stevens would want us to do that. i hope we will proceed in a bipartisan way and get to the bottom of not only what happened, but what are the forces at work that led to that far beyond just the issue of what we were, but what was the nature and we based in countries like libya post-arab spring. thank you. >> thank you. i might note the funding that is currently enjoyed by the state department was voted
bipartisan, one more democrat voting for the appropriations than republicans. so, hopefully, we can understand how bipartisan it was. in fact, it was voted by more democrats than republicans. the chair will recognize our panel of witnesses. first of all, lieutenant colonel andrew wood is a member of the utah national guard and i believe department of interior employee. mr. eric nordstrom is a regional security officer at the united states department of state. ambassador patrick j. kennedy is undersecretary of the department of state and a frequent witness. mrs. charlene lamb is the deputy assistant secretary for international programs at the u.s. department of state. i want to welcome you and pursuant to our rules, i ask that you rise to take the oath. raise your right hands.
do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth? let the record reflect all witnesses answered in the affirmative. please, take your seats. pursuant to our rules and tradition, each witness will have five minutes. please, when you see your time expiring, wrap it up. your entire prepared statement will be placed in the records. i will take a moment only to admonish that colonel wood, we got yours fairly late, but we understand this is not a regular schtick for you. for the other administration, i am disappointed. we have a 24-hour rule. ambassador kennedy, it is in, but we would appreciate in the future getting it earlier because i think members on both
sides pore over it. with that, we recognize lieutenant-colonel wood. >> thank you. i am a member of the utah national guard with 24 years of service as a special forces soldier. i was mobilized for the winter olympics 2002, afghanistan from september 2003 to may 2004. for counterterrorism work in southern philippines from august 2007 to may 2008. i currently work for the u.s. bureau of reclamation as an upper colorado regional security officer. i am responsible to reclamation for security program that oversees 58-significant hazard dams in five western states, one of which is a national, critical infrastructure facility. upon hearing of the death of ambassador stevens, and later the congressional inquiry, i identified myself to the staff as a person with intimate
knowledge of the security situation prior to the attack. i was subsequently contacted and began a dialogue with staff investigators. i made a personal decision to come forth with information and do not represent dod or any government agency. i had unique access and placement to many government leaders and agencies while working in libya. i feel duty-bound to come forward in order to inform and provide a portion of ground truth information. i feel a sense of honor for those individuals who have died in the service to their country. i realize much of what -- much of my work in libya was entangled in sensitive government work and must be careful not to betray the confidences placed in me. the killing of a u.s. ambassador is a rare and extraordinary thing and requires our attention as a people. as a citizen, i made the
determination that this outweighs all other interests. i will risk whatever circumstances may result from my testimony. i served as site security team commander in libya from february 12 to 14 august of this year 2012. i was mobilized from utah national guard in title 10 status and reported to special operations command africa, which serves directly under africom. i was detailed in title 22 status to the department state. the element consisted of 16 members. it is my understanding it was crafted by the national security council to meet the demand security challenges facing the department of state and a requirement to reestablish diplomatic relations with the post gaddafi or free libya. the sst bond considerable support. in this uncertain and volatile environment. the mission was to support and
answer to the chief mission in libya. i worked directly for the regional security officer. we provided security support, medical support, communications support, for every facet of security that covered the embassy. as the sst commander, at a seat on the country team. i was closely involved in the support for the rso's secure the objective. we lived more together to locations in tripoli and embassy property in benghazi. the sst supported security but it's for diplomatic officers in and around tripoli and other parts of libya as the work required. on two occasions, i send members to benghazi to support and bolster security at that location. the sst was closely integrated with regular diplomatic security agents working directly for the rso as well as other diplomats teams. i traveled to benghazi on two occasions with the rso, once to
evaluate a security situation there and once to conduct some work for the defense office. i was there a second time in june when the u.k. ambassadors' convoy was attacked. i responded with agents in order to provide medical and security assistance to wounded u.k. security personnel. i conducted a post attack investigation of the ambush for assault. and i regularly met with and held frequent conversations with the ambassador stevens and other members of the security team. in june when eric nordstrom rotated out, i was a senior member of the country team with the exception of the ambassador stevens. he lived and worked closely together in an atmosphere that is common to an expeditionary post. ambassador stevens was an avid runner and played tennis as well. the sst was heavily involved when he ran.
i ran with him on several occasions. the sst provided an important link for the country team to soc africa. there was a good exchange of information between soc africa and the rso. there was a great relationship. i reported three times a week through video teleconference and sent daily situation reports. i have the communications ability to provide a direct link to soc africa. i no longer have the emails or documents, as much of this was on their servers and computers. most of this is from memory. the state department's decision not to extend sst security beyond the fifth of august, terminated our work in this
capacity. we were in the process of changing title back to 10. we were continually updated with reports i sent to my military chain of command. the rso sent information on security and threats in a similar matter up his chain of command. while the sound of gunfire subsided from february to april, the situation remains unstable. libyans struggled with the transition government, but hesitated to make decisions and were forced to rely upon local and tribal militias of varying degrees of loyalty. in late spring, the police were allowed to return to work to help with traffic, but were limited to that only. fighting between militias was common. militias separated -- they appeared to be disintegrating into freelance criminal operations. targeted attacks against westerners were increasing.
in june, the ambassador received a threat on facebook with a public announcement he would like to run around the embassy compound in tripoli. when i arrived in february, three teams were on the ground. the ambassador struggled with renewing the sst beyond april 5. that is ambassador stevens. the second msd team was withdrawn after the departure. restricted from performing security work only and limited only to train local guard force members in july. the remaining msd was withdrawn at the same time the sst was terminated. the security in benghazi was a struggle and remained a struggle throughout my time
there. the situation remained uncertain and reports from some libyans indicated it was getting worse. diplomatic security remained weak. in april, only one u.s. diplomatic security agent was stationed there. the rso struggle to obtain additional personnel, but was never able to obtain the numbers he felt comfortable with. i hope the information i provide will be put together with data points from others. so and after a picture can be obtained. we need to be dedicated to the understanding, to understand the problems has surrounded this attack in order to find a solution. our failure to do so will result in repeated instances that will allow our adversaries to take an advantage over us. my purpose is to prevent their ability to take the life of another ambassador. or kill another valuable and talented public servant working for the diplomatic service of
their country. >> thank you. mr. nordstrom. >> good morning, chairman, ranking members and other distinguished members of the committee. my name is eric nordstrom and i currently serve as a special supervisory special agent with the u.s. department of state diplomatic security. i join the department april 1998 and a surge in domestic and overseas postings including washington, d.c., honduras, ethiopia, india, and most recently as the regional security officer at the u.s. embassy in tripoli, libya. the position i held from september 21, 2011 until july 26, 2012. at the regional security officer, or rso at u.s. embassy in tripoli, as armed as the principal advisor to ambassadors credits and stevens and security and on for some
matters. i am here today to provide testimony in support of your inquiry into the tragic affairs of september 11, 2012. including the murders of the four americans. i had the pleasure of working with ambassador stevens to in the final months of my tour in libya and would echo what many are saying, the loss of ambassador stevens is not only tragic for his family, sad for our country, but his death will prove to be a devastating loss for libya. they're struggling to recover from its recent civil war. my family and i would like to offer personal condolences to the families of these four patriots who gave their lives in the service of their country. my contribution to our nation's efforts in libya will prove to be only a small part of a wider effort. there are many of us dedicated to the mission in libya both at
home and abroad. to my colleagues who served with me and to those who are presently there in the aftermath of this attack, you have your countries sincere thanks and prayers. let me say a word about the evening of september 11. i had not seen an attack of such ferocity and intensity previously in libya, nor in my town of the diplomatic security service. i am concerned this attack signals a new security reality, just as the 1983 beirut marine barracks bombing did for the marines, the 1998 east african embassy bombings did for the state department, and 9/11 did for our entire country. however, we must remember is critical that we balance our risk mitigation efforts with the needs of our diplomats to do their jobs. the answer cannot be to operate from a bunker. arriving in tripoli in the midst of the libyan civil war,
it was immediately obvious to me that the post-revolution in libya was a weakened state, exhausted from their civil war, and operating under fragmented and paralyzed government institutions. they were barely able to protect themselves from armed gangs, gaddafi loyalists, or roving militias. as a result, the libyan temporary government was unable to extend secure the assets to diplomatic missions in customary ways that we expect around the world. we cannot rely on the libyan government for security, intelligence, and law- enforcement help to identify emerging threats or to ask them for assistance in mitigating those threats. in benghazi, however, the government through the february 17 was able to provide as consistent help since the earliest days of the revolution. routine civil unrest, militia on militia violence, in general
lawlessness, and motor vehicle accidents were the primary threats facing our mission and personal during my time in libya. as colonel wood noted, in the spring of 2012, we noted an increasing number of attacks and incidents which appeared to target for an affiliated organizations. in response to these incidents, we implemented a number of changes to our security posture. designed to mitigate those threats and disrupt any planning by would-be attackers. those efforts include reviewing and practicing our emergency preparedness drills, most important, we reiterated our request at all levels of government for a consistent armed host nation security force to support the mission. we also requested security staffing and extensions of the dod secure support team. in my opinion, the primary
security staffing issue that we dealt with was maintaining u.s. security personnel, whether diplomatic security agents or secure the support team members, for a sufficient amount time to enable the full training and deployment of a local bodyguard unit. in early july 2012, prior to my departure, post requested continued staffing of 15 u.s. security professionals. either ds field office agents, mobil security agents, or dot sst personnel. plus retention of a sixth agent multiple training team that would work with our newly created bodyguard unit. earlier opposed extension requests for our dod ss team in 2011 and march 2012 were approved. also in march 2012, are requested staffing levels in tripoli of full -- five full- time agents to be permanently
assigned there, 12 temporary duty ds agents, and six mobile security ds agents, again, to create our newly created a bodyguard unit. our long-term security plan in libya was to deploy an armed locally hired libyan bodyguard unit. due to libyan political sensitivities, armed private security teams were not allowed to operate in libya. that was the case under gaddafi and was the case under the free libya. our existing uniform static local guard force, both in tripoli and benghazi, were unarmed. similar to our local guard forces that many other posts around the world. their job is simple -- it is to observe, report, and alert armed host nation security or
armed response forces, possibly ds agents of that is the case. the use of local nationals as armed bodyguards is a routine practice in the department and often do so to comply with the local firearms regulations of the host nation. local nationals provide us with continuity, local expertise, threat awareness in their community, and language and cultural skills. i am confident the committee will conclude that officers and employees of the department of state, diplomatic security service, and mission libya conducted themselves professionally and with careful attention to managing the people and budgets in a way that reflected the gravity of the task. i am proud of the work our team accomplished in libya under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. the protection of our nation's diplomats, embassies and consulates, and the work produced there is deserving of the time and treasure invested. i am glad to further discuss my
expenses and hope it provides beneficial to the committee, the state department, and my fellow ds agents. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. may god bless our country as we work toward peace in a contentious world. i stand ready to answer any questions you might have of me. >> thank you. ms. lamb. could you turn on your mic, please? that's all right, your first time. >> by name is charlene lamb. and that the assistant secretary for international programs and the bureau of diplomatic security at the department of state. i have been in law enforcement for 35 years, including 17 consecutive years stationed abroad as a regional security officer in nicaragua, kuwait, guatemala, and germany. i am here today to share best
information to date about what happened in benghazi on september 11. as you know, there are ongoing investigations and reviews being conducted, and we are speaking today with an incomplete picture. but as this process moves forward and more information becomes available, we will continue to engage closely with congress. let me begin by describing the actual compound in benghazi. it is more than 300 yards long, and nearly 100 yards wide. the main building was divided into two sections, the public section included common areas and meeting space. the private section was a residential area that included a safe haven. a second building, building b, housed diplomatic security agents. the tactical operations center occupied a third building.
the fourth building on the compound served as barracks for the libyan brigade members. after acquiring the compound, we made a number of security upgrades. among other steps, we extended the height of the outer wall 12 feet with masonry concrete, barbed wire, and razor wire. we increased the external lighting and erected jersey barriers outside the perimeter. we also added equipment to detect explosives as well as in any danger notification system. we install security grills on windows, accessible from the ground, and included escape when as with emergency releases. there were five diplomatic security agents on the compound september 11. there were also three members of the libyan february 17 brigade. in addition, a well-trained u.s. quick reaction security
team was stationed nearby at the embassy annex. all of these measures and upgrades were taken in coordination with security officials in benghazi, tripoli, and washington. i work closely with more than 275 facilities are around the world, determining the right level of security for each one. it is intensive, ongoing, constantly evolving process. one that i appreciate and understand from my own time on the ground as a diplomatic security officer. that brings me to the events of september 11 itself. at approximately 9:40 p.m. local time, dozens of attackers launched a full-scale assault. they forced their way to the pedestrian gates, used diesel fuel to set fire to the libyan february 17 brigade members barracks, and then proceeded
toward the main building. a diplomatic security agent working in the tactical operations center immediately activated the eminent danger notification system. he also alerted the quick reaction security team station nearby. the libyan february 17 brigade, the embassy in tripoli, and the diplomatic security command center in washington. one agent, ambassador stevens and sean smith, the information management officer and the safe haven, the attackers used diesel fuel to set the main building ablaze. thick smoke rapidly filled the entire structure. the agent began leading the ambassador and sean smith for the emergency escape window. nearing unconsciousness himself, the agent opened the emergency escape grill window and crawled out.
he then realized they had become separated in the smoke. so he reentered and searched the building multiple times. finally, the agent, suffering from severe smoke inhalation, barely able to breathe or speak, exited to the roof. other agents retrieved their submachine guns from building b. when they attempted to return to the main building, they encountered armed attackers and doubled back. they regrouped, made their way to a nearby armored vehicle, then drove over to assist the agent on the roof and search for the ambassador and mr. smith. after numerous attempts, they found mr. smith, unfortunately, he was already deceased. they still could not find the ambassador. the quick reaction security team arrived with 40 members of the libyan february 17 brigade. they all continued the search
for the ambassador. at approximately 11:00 p.m., the libyans insisted for everyone's safety that they needed to evacuate the site. and next in an armored vehicle. they took heavy fire as they pulled away from the main building and on the street outside the compound. they were able to make their way to the annex. >> the gentlelady will suspend. >> i am concern we are getting into classified issues that would be totally inappropriate in an open forum such as this. ms. lamb, is it your intent to declassify any and all material in the statement? >> the information we are
presented in open session is entirely on classified. -- unclassified. >> mr. chairman, i totally object to the use of that photo. the gentleman will state his reasons. >> i believe it to be classified information that should not be disseminated in a public forum such as we have here today. >> breaking member, i was just wondering -- these are people from the state -- ranking member, these are people from the state department. i would assume they would not come here unless it was cleared. >> i appreciate the gentleman's comments. are these now declassified or are you declassifying them at this hearing? is that correct? is this clear through your channels to be given here today?
>> this information is available for public dissemination. >> ok. the gentleman's point of order, although noted, it is the prerogative of the executive branch to determine what is not classified. the one thing i would note, my able staff has compared the opening statement of ms. lamb. it appears her opening statement is the one that should have been given to us last night since it is the one that was given to the press. >> i was told specifically that while i was in libya, i should not and could not talk about what you are showing here today. >> mr. chairman, if i might, this is commercial digital imagery from a commercial satellite source, sir. >> i appreciate that. ultimately, i will side with the ministration they have a right to show it.
we were shown documents this morning in camera that work on classified, but were not turned over to the committee. if you have anything else you intend to use, if it has not been provided to the committee, i shall suggest those materials be provided at this time. it is your prerogative to declassify, but it is not your brought in to tell a member of congress there is something that is classified and come to an open hearing and say it is not. mr. chaffee this is it with your people. i ask that you rectify this in the future. >> is there question? point of order. we do not want any misconceptions. ambassador, can we get that on google?
>> this is not a point of order. thank you. please reset to 8 minutes. if you can finish in two minute, 2 minutes. if you can finish in two minutes, we appreciate it. >> the annex started taking mortar fire. it was during this mortar attack that tyron woods and glen doughterty were killed. a quick reaction security team was wounded. a large number of security officers arrived and exported the arm -- remaining americans to the airport. the ambassador's body was that the benghazi general hospital. the department coordinated the transfer of his remains to the airport.
before i close, i would like to say that the men and women who risked their lives in the service of our country are heroes. i have served with many of our security professionals around the world. they are my friends and my colleagues. i trust them with my life. thank you. >> thank you. i would direct that the chart the taken down. upon further reflection, although commercially available, in this hearing room, we are not going to point out details of what may still be a facility of the united states government for more facilities. you may continue. i respect your right to deliver what you want. but i will caution you that that which is told to us on a classified spaces needs to remain that way. you cannot have it one day in a
classified briefing, which i attended yesterday, and the same material be presented on classified the next day. the ambassador is recognized. >> thank you very much. distinguished members of the committee. i'd like to share a few words with you. libyan space significant challenges as they make the transition from an oppressive dictatorship to a stable and prosperous democracy. it will be an extraordinary honor to represent the united states during this historic period of transition in your -- in libya. we understand why christopher stevens went to libya, his passion for the country and his mission. he believes no talent is too big our too hard in our national security or value is at stake. that is what is in stake at the best at stake in libya. we will do our best to answer
your -- that is what is at stake in libya. we will do our best to answer your questions. there may be information that is classified and can only be dealt with in classified sessions. as secretary clinton has said. the american people expect that the family who lost loved ones -- families who lost loved ones deserve an accurate accounting. we lost friends and colleagues, a cross section of those who put their lives on the line every day. in the inherently dangerous work of diplomatic service to our nation. the secretary has already appointed a review board and is working to determine if our security systems and procedures where appropriate in light of the threat environment and whether they were properly implemented. the secretary has asked us to work as quickly and transparency as pot -- transparently as possible.
this is a complicated review that will take time. we will be better able to assess the information we have. until then, it is an incomplete picture and, as a result, our answers today will be incomplete. we have always made clear we were given the best information we had at the time. for example, if any administration official, including any career official, were on television sunday, september 16, they would have said what ambassador rice said. the information she had at that point from the intelligence committee was the same that i had at that point. clearly, we know more today than we did after the attack. but we will continue consulting with you throughout this process. i would like to address the
broader question that may be on your mind. why is the united states in benghazi when there are real dangers there? this question goes to the heart of america's role in the world. ambassador stevens arrived in benghazi at the height of the revolution. the rebels were fighting for their lives. it was dangerous. a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel. the transitional authority struggled to provide basic security. extremists tried to exploit their agenda. i military cannot -- they are our -- there are no other bullets on the ground. he understood a new libya was being born in benghazi and it was critical that we have an active presence there. that is why ambassador stevens
stayed in benghazi during those difficult days. he knew his mission was vital to our interests and values and it was an investment that would pay off in a strong partnership with a free libya. after the september 11 attack, the libyan people showed how right he was. thousands marched in the streets of benghazi morning there france same -- mourning their friend saying, chris stevens is a friend to all libyans. the united states is better off because he went to benghazi. we must review the security procedures in place and improve them, asking ourselves if our people have with a needed and how we can reduce the risk of this happening again. one thing is not up for debate today or any other day. those who risk their lives in the service of our country are heroes and we must support them, particularly those who provide security in and insecure and climate.
diplomacy must be practiced in dangerous places. the united states since people in more than 2165 diplomatic posts. we do this because when america -- in more than 265 diplomatic posts. we do this because when america is absent, our interests suffer and our security is threatened. that is how we protect this country and sustain its global leadership. we can and will reduce the risk of those who served. no one can eliminate it. our facilities must be protected. we regularly to assess risks and resources allocation, a process involving the considered judgment of experienced professionals on the ground and in washington using the best available information. the assaults that occurred on
the evening of september 11, was an unprecedented assault by dozens of heavily armed men. we must continue to deploy our men to dangerous places like benghazi. we will not retreat. we will keep leading and we will stay engaged everywhere in the world. all of us in the state department will honor our fallen colleagues by continuing their work with the same purpose and resolve they demonstrated. mr. chairman, thank you again for this opportunity. the congress is a crucial partner in providing diplomatic security. i look forward to working with you and the members of this committee to continue to carry out this important work. thank you. >> thank you. ambassador kennedy, yesterday you make a significant press announcement. this morning, and only this morning, our staff was shown a binder in camera.
the documents in that book indicates that it is unclassified. are you prepared to deliver those documents to us at this time? >> mr. chairman, my understanding is that we made information available to the committee last night and this morning. we have the material still here. we would be glad to meet with the committee or committees that afterwards. >> no. we want it for this hearing. the information when looked at in camera, was on classified, but perhaps embarrassing. will you make that information available at this time so i can distributed to all the members on the dais? >> the information must be considered restricted and the context is all important. >> i agree with you. with that, i now move that the u.n. classified document of september 11, 2012 appearing above the signature of the
ambassador be placed in the record. without objection, so ordered. the staff will distribute it. additionally, i move that the documents of march 28, 2012 we place in the record. without objection, so ordered. additionally -- and these will have to be printed -- the document of august 2, 2012 and of july 9, 2012 be placed in the record. without objection, so ordered. >> mr. chairman, to be clear, we already have the documents? >> in real time, a whistleblower has provided these documents. we confirm these documents are identical to the documents being withheld.
it is the determination of the chair that these documents were responsive, on classified, and appropriate for discovery. >> i was just asking if we already had the documents. >> if you notice, i am looking at one on an ipad. we have some and others. they will be circulated to bauxites. they are now -- they will be circulated to both sides. they are now part of the hearing. ambassador, i do not like doing this. ultimately, the cooperation we have received has caused individuals to say things that are consistent with these documents that are being withheld. since the documents are on classified, we can reach no other conclusion but that they are inappropriate. after my years in the military and my years on the hill and my years on the select intelligence committee, to say that a broader array of a classified documents are classified is to make everything
you do unavailable to the congress. mr. nordstrom, you have got a lot of things i appreciate in communication. you send an e-mail and you have that e-mail read in an opening statement. do you stand by that statement? >> i do. that was a follow-up to our meeting on the same day. we discussed a number of documents you were interested in getting, specifically the list of incidents we had discussed. >> in the statement, what you were saying was that there was not sufficient resources ovided considering the coming together of what could have and turned out to be a catastrophic attack. would that be a fair representation of what you said? >> that was the main reason i continue to ask for those
resources, yes. >> we had an informal, bipartisan meeting with you. in that, you relate something that i think is important. i ask you about the masses stevens, a skilled career -- i ask you about ambassador stevens, a skills career diplomat. he told me that when there was a perceived threat in is running, he ceased running. when you are able to come up with an acceptable way for him to run, he ran again, but only under your authority and recommendation. is that correct? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> did he do what you saw when you recommended it. did he chafe over what you thought was best for his security? >> at no time did i have concerns raised to me by ambassador stevens.
the senior member of the mobile security deployment team routinely met with him and discussed general threats and specific concerns we might have about his schedule, his routine, and his meetings. as i noted in that informal hearing, one of the specific threats we have received, which was reference this morning, was a threat posted to facebook. we came across that threat as a result of senator mccain coming out to review the elections that were held in early july. my point of it is, he was absolutely responsive and he deferred to what our concerns were. >> thank you. mr. lamb, yesterday you told us in testimony that you received, from mr. nordstrom, a
recommendation, but not a request, for more security. he said that if you submitted a request, you would not support it. is that correct? >> at the time of our meeting last night, i went back -- >> first answer the question. did you say that he would not support it if he gave you the request? >> under the current conditions, yes. >> after last night, you discovered what? >> i reviewed the cable and that was not in that cable. >> we have a july 9 cable. it is one of the ones that i put in the record. it has the words request. it does not meet your standard of what you would call a formal request. it does request more assets. if you looked at the july 9, 2012 cable -- and this is less
than 60 days beforehand -- it says summary and action request, support for an additional 60 days. yesterday, you told us under penalty of perjury, that it was not a request. it was a recommendation. does the word requests made request? are you prepared to say today that they requested assets above what they had on september 11 or that they recommended it? >> that cable was a detailed and complex cable outlining -- we have read that cable and, you are right. it is detailed. the september 11 cable from the ambassador expresses current concerns on that day. repeatedly in the cables that
were denied to us, we see that people are telling you that al qaeda-type organizations are coming together. the problem i have is that the state department is saying mr. nordstrom was not doing his job, he did not make a formal request and the ambassador did not make a formal case. that is what you are saying today. a compound owned by us and serving like a consulate was breached less than 60 days before, approximately 60 days before the murder of the ambassador in that facility. is that true? >> sir, we have the correct number of assets in benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what has been agreed upon. >> my time has expired.
to start off by saying you had the correct number and our ambassador and three other individuals are dead and people are recovering because it only took moments to reach that facility does not ring true to the american people. with that, i recognize the ranking member. have you received a copy of the cables yet? >> yes. mr. nordstrom, your testimony here today paints a different picture of what has been portrayed in the press. you said you were impressed with the plans that we send our team into libya, a massive show of well organize resources. you further explain that the department of state diplomatic security service and mission libya officers conducted themselves and were paying attention to managing people and budgets that reflected the
gravity of that task. did you say that? >> yes, i did. he said -- >> you say the vast number of your resources were considered by ds and the department. did you say that? >> absolutely. >> did you mean that? >> absolutely. >> all that is helpful in putting it into context concerns you have raised about staffing numbers. you told the committee you thought there should be 5 diplomatic security special agents stationed in benghazi and that you sent two cables, one in march and one in july, making that request. is that correct? >> yes. if i can add to that report on the back that point, it was not my idea to add five to -- if i
can add to that report, it was not my idea to add five to benghazi. that cable was trapped in the department. i had, at no time, an opportunity to add or comment on that. the principal officer in benghazi had an opportunity to comment on that. it was the number 5 that ds had committed to and which we continue to ask them to meet during my time there. >> the cable states further, they anticipate supporting the operation in benghazi what -- with at least 1 iso, with a rest -- would request continued support in benghazi. that would be a total of four. is that correct? >> yes.
>> i understand you left libya before the attacks. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> ambassador, let me turn to you. there were five special agents in benghazi at the time of the attack. can you verify there were five special agents in benghazi on the night of the attack? were there additional armed guards at the compound on that night? can you answer those though she questions, please? >> there were five diplomatic security special agents on the compound on the evening of september 11. there were three additional armed security personnel provided by the government of libya. >> agent lamb, how do you respond to concerns that you fail to provide additional security in benghazi? that is a serious charge. >> yes, sir.
we have decided that with eric nordstrom and a senior rso who spent time there as well. i asked them to do a serious assessment of the numbers needed them. when mr. nordstrom distrust of the duties of the agents in benghazi -- discussed the duties of the ages in benghazi, we were using an agent to -- agents in benghazi, we were using an agent to monitor classified communications. these are not normally duties assigned to a ds agent. i asked him to review that. when another rso went to benghazi, that rso was asked to review the numbers. a driver was hired, trained and the driver took the place of what the ds agent was doing. they came up through technical security means around the need to half the 24-7 coverage.
>> one last question. when the ambassador to travel to benghazi before the attack, could the security team in tripoli send additional security with him if it was necessary? >> absolutely. >> or any of those five ds agents with the ambassador in tripoli come down from benghazi? >> yes. >> that is not the same as by being in benghazi ordinarily. the still would have been two more coming down with the ambassador for a total of 7. >> we agreed that three was a sufficient number to have on the ground.
one question. -- >> the cable we talked about as four agents, not five. is that right? >> which cable? >> the july cable. ask for four not 5. >> it asks for a minimum of three. at the time, we had three full- time permanently assigned agents in libya -- myself and two assistance. cut there were five on the night of the attack, is that correct? >> that is mine understanding. -- my understanding. >> mr. kennedy, right after the september 11 attack, you were up here on capitol hill giving a briefing to aides. you said this appeared to be a terrorist attack.
do you stand by that? >> what i said, mr. chairman -- former chairman. >> once a chairman, always a chairman. >> the question i recall being asked was was this a premeditated attack. i responded to that, that i am not prepared to render a formal opinion on whether or not it was premeditated. i thought it involves a degree of complexity that was significant. >> according to people who were there, you called it a terrorist attack. but in a separate statement. >> that is all i wanted to know. today, as i listen to people, ms. lamb, you have described these attackers in a numbe of ways. he did not mention terrorist --
you do not mention terrorists. the embassy had been attacked before. they used grenades at all kinds of weapons. why would you call this anything but a terrorist attack? >> i had just presented the facts of the have come across. i am not making any judgment on my own. >> let me ask you a couple of other questions. there were 16 troops that were there at the compound. they requested them to be kept there. they sent a suggestion did they be kept their in their responded that if that was presented to you you would not accept that.
was that your decision? >> they were not in been gauzy, they were in tripoli. when the cable came and where he laid out all of his staffing requirements and needs, i ask our officer to go back and sit down with him or through e-mail and telephone conversations to work out all the details and a line up exactly how many security personnel -- armed personnel did he meet. >> you did not agree with the assessment that they needed them there? >> know, we had been training. >> did you or did you not say that if that was presented to you you would not accept it? >> he was -- >> did you or did you not say?
>> i said i would not support it. >> why is that? he knew about all the other attacks that had taken place. >> we have been training will libyans and harming them for almost one year. >> the vocal libyan militia that was there, many of them supposedly were told by friends and relatives there were growing to be an imminent attack on the compound. many of them left. they did not want to be involved. i do not understand why you would say you do not think the 16 trips should be there. >> with due respect, they were a in tripoli. it would not have made any difference. >> do you care to comment on this? >> giving it about january or
february time frame, i had a number of conversations with lamb, the regional director, and also the desk officer for libya itself. a lot of the discussions were specific to the -- it to determining what our personal needs word. looking at metrics, what the duties would be that the personnel would be doing. be it to the dod sourced or department of state sourced. the number that we continue to come up with, and it is generally the same number that was requested in march was approximately 12 armed security with an additional six persons that would be focused on training the local guard unit. >> would the gentleman yield? >> i would be happy to yield. >> is it not true that they
would have as much of 30% turn over per month in the people they were training? you were not getting good career people to come and, but in fact had very high turnover both in the unarmed and to the lesser extent armed training. >> the guard force was somewhat confusing. in tripoli, the guards we employed were hired by the embassy. but i am only speaking of been gauzy. >> those were subcontracted. the decision to go with a subcontractor was based on our concern how long we would be in ben ghazi. we were concerned we would have to find a position for them of that post ever went away. it is my understanding there was a high turnover with those people. in terms of the arms security
that were there, it was a core group that stayed there for the duration. >> if you would want to finish up on anything responsive, that is fine. >> the 16 members did ago to benghazi to support movement of the principal officer to bolster the security that was there. she made trips, and they were needed there for the extra movement that she had and to remain rigid to guarded the compound and provide a quick reaction force if necessary. we did that on two separate occasions to provide extra support. the sst, what goes above and beyond normal law enforcement oriented security. these individuals were familiar and carried larger caliber weapons and the tactics they
would employ is to counter military-style attack. >> thank you. >> ambassador kennedy, i want to make sure i clarify one of the most controversial parts of this matter. that is how the public first learned of the first reason given for the disturbances in benghazi. i understand the state department did not take any position including the position taken by ambassador rice. i think it is an important to trace how the ambassador came to the conclusions that she reported on television.
she said that her information was that was that the benghazi matters were similar to the protests that had arisen in cairo. she referred to extremist elements, opportunistic elements taking advantage of that process. now, the office of the director of national intelligence issued a statement that indicated it had been the source of the ambassador's statement. i would like to read what the national intelligence director said. in the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess the attack began
following protests earlier that day at our embassy in cairo. we provided that two officials and members of congress to use that information to discuss the attacks publicly and to provide updates as they became available. throughout our investigation we continue to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and devolving. i know, by the way, mr. nordstrom you say -- i am looking at page 2 -- the intensity of the attack was nothing that we have seen in libya or that i had seen in my entire time in diplomatic service, indicating this was something of a surprise attack. suggesting that perhaps we should be rethinking how to protect our outpost's since it
is clear we are not lacking the funds. what i read was the statement, ambassador kennedy. can i ask you if you have any reasons to doubt that ambassador rice relied on that affirmation from the national intelligence director? >> no, ms. norton, when i came up to give a briefing earlier that week, followed a day or two later by ambassador rice, both of us were relying on the same information. i said in my oral statement that if i or any other senior administration official, career or noncareer would have been on that television show, other than susan rice, we would have said the same thing because we were drawing on the intelligence information that was then available to us. this has been a very much
evolving situation. what we knew that first week has evolved over time so we know much more now than we knew then. >> the national director issued a statement on the 28th and he said as we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment indicating it was a deliberate terrorist attack cared out by extremist. so we see the evolving nature of it. look, i have to ask you the diplomats who were stationed in cairo who were accused by governor mitt romney of sympathizing with the attackers, i'd like to know how these diplomats, these personnel in ky oh row -- cairo reacted to that criticism? >> i don't know. i've not had any conversations with them. but i'd like to assure you just
from my general knowledge there is not a foreign service officer or foreign service professional in our service who sympathizes or grease with terrorists. >> we now go to the gentleman from ohio. you'res understand what saying here today is that one piece of intel got you guys, yourself and secretary rice or ambassador rice to make a wrong statement five or six days later and still be making it. because sunday is a long time after tuesday. so you're saying you got it wrong, it stayed wrong and you didn't know any better between the 11th and the 16th, is that right? >> the information that was
available to both myself -- >> ambassador, you're a great witness historically. i asked you did you have any contrary knowledge over those five days? >> no, sir. >> you don't know any better is your testimony. thank you, sir. >> may i ask we give mr. jordan his full five minutes? >> be honest -- >> i ask unanimous consent the member have 15 seconds. >> objection. mr. chairman, with all due respect. you just allowed mr. burton to go over by two minutes and you're giving mr. -- >> i'm sure it's going to balance tout time. >> we have gone over and i'm going to pull it back into five minutes. >> before we get to your part of the day we will get there.
>> without objection, the ranking member is given equal time to ask a question, please. >> i want to go back to you ambassador. i think that was a very critical question. mr. norton talked about the five days. can you explain that to us that during that period, five days or whatever it was, not having the information contrary to what ms. rice may have said. i understand it was based on intelligence. but can you explain how that could happen to the public? in other words, were you all still gathering information, what was going on there, do you know?
>> mr. comings, we were gathering information from the intelligence community. we wanted to know what was happening more than anyone else because we also had dozens of other embassies we were concerned about. so we were looking for every piece of information we could get from no matter what rational and reasonable source to feed into our consideration of what steps we should take to protect -- >> is it unusual for you all to rely on the intelligence community for that kind of information? >> we have a great partnership with the intelligence community and we heavily depend on the information they provide us just as they depend on information we provide them. >> now the gentleman from ohio has five minutes. >> how many months were you in libya? >> i was in libya approximately six months. >> mr. nordstrom, how many months were you in libya?
>> approximately ten. >> ms. lamb how many times have you visited libya? >> i have not >> none since the security incidents in libya? >> no, sir >> how many times have you been to libya? >> none. >> we had numbers earlier from mr. nordstrom, you talked about three/five in libya. and you wanted 12 plus a back up of six. in your testimony mr. kennedy, you said the department regularly assessed risk for security a process which considered judgment for professionals using the best information available. so that process, i want to know how the decision was made. are you involved in that process ambassador kennedy? >> most normal occasions i am not involved. >> are people in the white house involved in that process? >> if there are disagreements between the post in the field and the diplomats -- >> would you classify what took place here a disagreement? >> no, sir --
>> this didn't reach a disagreement level. i would describe it as a dialogue -- >> this didn't reach a disagreement? >> no, sir, it did not. >> mr. nordstrom let me turn to you then. i want to know in the e-mail that congressman referenced earlier, the interview you had back on october 1, you stated this was a post to reduce security resources in accordance with artificial time lines. yet today in your testimony it was a little different as the ranking member brought out and mentioned the answer should not be to operate from a bunk. i want to ask you these questions. first of all, since that interview with the chairmen,
staff indicated they tried to contact you six different times and you did not respond. is there a reason you didn't respond? >> that's correct. >> is there a reason you didn't respond? >> i was advised by state >> -- who -- our legislative office >> did ms. lamb tell you to do that? >> no. >> did secretary clington tell you to do that? >> i was advised by the assistant secretary boswell's office that his staff that all
request for information and documents would need to be vetted or routed through that office. >> did those same individuals help you prepare today's testimony? >> in the sense of providing general guidelines on how -- >> did they tell you they wanted to look it over before you came and gave it today? >> of course. >> did they write it for you? >> no, they did not. >> ms. lamb, i want to go back to this decision making process. so is it customary to not listen -- i would characterize listen as intently as you should have to the guys in the field when they requested the 12 plus the six backup? >> yes, sir, i listen intently
to those conversations. >> mr. wood, let me bring you into the conversation here. i want your comments on that specifically, the number you wanted in libya plus the additional six. >> we agreed to the numbers between eric and i and put forth those numbers. we felt great frustration the fact that those demands were ignored. >> so the process when i was asked ambassador kennedy, tell me who you felt was involved in that process? who were the folks in washington in that process? >> i heard eric nordstrom refer to ms. lamb as far as the deciding authority on providing those additional resources. >> experienced professionals on the ground in washington, who were the other experienced professionals in washington that helped make that decision? >> i don't know >> mr. nordstrom, who else? somebody had to decide, someone in washington was telling you guys you couldn't get what you wanted, was it just ms. lamb or were there other people? >> i can't speculate in terms of who was. i dealt with our regional director and then ms. lamb. the ambassador in the d.c.m.
raised the same concerns. the d.c.m. met with ms. lamb raised the same concerns in person. it's my understanding additional phone calls were made. all of us at post were in sink we wanted these resources. >> on behalf of ms. lamb, ambassador kennedy. briefly, please. >> absolutely, mr. chairman. i was asked on a different question, i was asked whether i was going to request a third extension of the s.s.t. i consulted with my colleagues and because our colleagues had put together -- >> that's not what you said earlier. you said you weren't involved. which one is it? >> this question will be for the
next round for both of you. with that, we recognize the gentleman from ohio. >> mr. kennedy has testified today that u.s. interest and values are at stake in libya and that the u.s. is better off because we went to benghazi. do you think that after 10 years in iraq and 11 years in afghanistan that the u.s. would have learned the consequences? you would think that after trillions have been wasted abroad while our infrastructure crumbles at home congress would reexamine priorities. aday we're engaging in discussion about the security failures in benghazi. there was a security failure. four americans including our ambassador, ambassador stevens were killed. their deaths are a national tragedy. my sympathy is with their families. there has to be accountability. i haven't heard that yet.
we have an obligation to protect those who protect us. this security decration did not happen over night. we could talk about hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts over the last two years for blind prosperity. we could talk about whether it's prudent to rely on security contractors rather than our own military or state department personnel. we could do a he said she said about whether the state department should have beefed up security in benghazi. we oh it to the diplomat i can corp to start at the beginning and that's what i shall do. the unchecked extremist groups exist because our nation spurred on a civil war in libya. and no one defends gaddafi. libya was not in a melt down
before the war. in 2003 gaddafi gave up his pursuit of nuclear weapons. it made our country and world safer. during the spring up rising as cross the mid middle east. based on those verbal threats we intervened absent constitutional authority i might add. we bombed them, we lacked any civil authority control for security. al qaeda expanded its presence. there are thousands of missiles on the loose. our mill tire intervention led to greater instability in libya. many of us made that argument to try to stop the war. it's not surprising given inflated threat and the expectations inherent in our nation building in libya that the state department was not
able to protect our diplomats from this predictable threat. it's not surprising and it's not acceptable. it's easy to blame someone else. we all know the game. it's hard tore acknowledge that decades of foreign policy contributed to instability in the rise of militias around the world. it's hard to stop the war in iraq, the war in afghanistan, the war in yemen, the war in pakistan. recognizetore congress to stop st. drone attacks that are killing civilians. we want to stop the attacks on our embassies, let's stop trying to overthrow governments. let's avoid the hype. let's look at the real situation here. interventions do not make us
safer. they do not protect our nation. they are themselves a threat to america. now mr. kennedy, i would like to ask you, is al qaeda more or less established in libya since our involvement? >> i will have to take that question for the record. i am not an intelligence expert. >> you don't have the intelligence you're saying? i'm going to go on to the next question. >> i think the other two may have an opinion also if you wanted to ask them. >> i wanted to ask ambassador kennedy. >> next question, ambassador kennedy. how many shoulder to air missiles are capable of shooting down passenger airlines are
missing in libya? can you answer that question? >> no, sir, i'll be glad to provide it for the record. >> you don't know? >> no, sir, i do not know. it's not in my normal purview. >> does anybody know how many shoulder to air missiles that can shoot down passenger airlines? >> the rough approximation is between 10,000 and 20,000. >> the gentleman's time has expired. if anyone has an answer, they can answer >> >> yes, sir, their presence grows every day, they are certainly more established than we are. >> with that, we recognize the chairman of the subcommittee and a determined individual to get to the bottom of this. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. nordstrom, as we spoke before and i think it's clear on the record, you were asking for more personnel and that was
either rejected or denied or just simply ignored, correct? >> actually, to clarify, we were asking just to keep what we had. and when you weren't able to keep what you had, what happened to your pay and the other security officers on the ground? >> i'm sorry. as i recall what you told me what that was denied, you were given a pay increase, they increased your pay? >> what i think you're referring to is the increase in danger pay for post as part of normal procedures we're asked for input at post. i as part of that process would provide information, not security. >> you were asking for more assets, more resources, more personnel, that was denied but the state department went back and classified it as more dangerous therefore increased your pay. they didn't tell you they didn't have resources. they gave you a pay increase because the danger was rising? >> yes >> did the benghazi
meet the standards. after the bombings beirut we went back and formalized some standards. did they meet those standards? >> negotiate the buildings in -- neither the buildings in benghazi nor tripoli met those standards nor was there a plan for the next phase of construction would they meet the standards either. that was scheduled to be on the ground for approximately ten years. that was a major cause and concern and that was the major security issue we continued to raise.
>> i would continue to point to an august 20 cable that you and officials believed the supreme security counsel is fading away unwilling to take on anyone from powerful tribes. this backed the washington d.c. said incidents continue in this security vacuum in benghazi. i would also point to september 4 in their memo maximum alert. a maximum alert september 1. this was the information that was coming. and what's infuriating is that we have hundreds of terrorists activities, our consulate is bombed twice, the british ambassador has an assassination attempt and you're arguing about whether the number was five or two or five or flee. and the security officials who haven't even been to libya wouldn't give the resources you asked for. did you participate in any way shape or form to request for additional personnel in libya and what was the consequence of those requests? >> yes, i did. with s.s.t. support. i reviewed some of those
documents and assisted in the preparation of those. i would like to also add, there was frustration from the beginning. the second request for extension that occurred apple -- april 5, the ambassador encountered some difficulty in understanding what was going on. he was getting conflicting signals from dod and dos. i got him to gather up but the general and they worked out a complete understanding. the general made it very clear to the ambassador. this was a great interagency cooperation and it was made very clear to him. it was also made clear -- he also reiterated that same point, the sst was his as long
as he needed them. >> mr. nordstrom, it did you ever specifically ask -- did she ever specifically directed not to ask for additional extension? >> i recall two specific phone calls. one in february and one in july. i talked to the tw agents who happen to be present in the living room of the ambassador. in those conversations, i recall that i was specifically told, you cannot request an extension. how i interpreted that was there would be too much political cost.
for some reason there was a hesitancy on that. in the first case in february, the ambassador felt strongly about the need for that. we went ahead and requested that any way. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> we now go to the gentleman from massachusetts. we appreciate his patients. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to thank the witnesses. i want to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice of ambassador stevens and former navy seals. as well as communication specialist sean smith. the best way to honor the memories of those american heroes is to address the general and global issue of the
embassy security. so that we do a sign other brave americans to fill these posts, they do have added get -- adequate security many members of security -- this committee have traveled to the middle east dozens of times. the chairman has mentioned damascus, syria, beirut, lebanon. i just came back from yemen. they are undergoing some structural changes in response to threats. we have some embassies that predates even the attack on nairobi, tanzania, so that we
have old world indices located on the street, in the middle east better terribly exposed to car bombs and to attacks. the best way to approach this is to take a holistic approach and figure out how we can prevent this type of thing from happening again. my second point, the easiest way to strengthen embassies' security is to get on the same page and -- i have to tell it like this. in recent budgets, my republican colleagues have supported cuts to funding for embassy security. the first thing you have to do to strengthen embassies' security is to try to meet secretary clinton's request for funding for embassy security. that will help lot.
ambassador kennedy, what would a few hundred million dollars black was cut from the president's request for embassy security, what would that mean to you in terms of providing that level of protection that every son and daughter of america and deserves when they accept that post to go into a dangerous area? what would that few hundred million dollars to in your ability to provide an adequate level of protection? >> if we received the president's budget request on their behalf? >> >> we would be built to construct new facilities and we would be able to create
additional facilities to get to the higher standards we seek. >> i want to go back to the chairman's point. the situations in damascus and in beirut, obviously, damascus, we would withdraw our personnel. but when things get straightened out, we are on the main street. i had come rescissions' with assad about getting a new facility there. do we have a task force that is looking at providing the setback that we need to provide that level of protection and to relocate some of these embassies? >> we do, sir. we have a strategic plan. we know which indices are more in danger than others. we are working through that. but there are limitations on funds. i can only construct some any new facilities each year
depending on the funds i have available to me. >> i want to go back to one. . your written testimony, page 2 first paragraph, in addition to the security team you have there, i think you described it as a rapid response force that was located in the amex. how many folks are in that rapid? do you know how many are in that rapid response task force were team? >> there were seven. -- >> point of order. >> i am worried that we are getting into an area that is classified and should be classified. dealing with the map is one issue. i believe that the markings on that map were terribly inappropriate. the activity there could cost
lives. >> on the point of order. this whole hearing is responding to allegations that there were not enough people on the ground at the benghazi facility. those accusations that you made publicly so that now i am trying to give an answer how many people were there and now that is of a sudden classified information? you have got to be kidding me. >> i am prepared to rule.
unless you are prepared to get clearance and classify any and all information about additional personnel, this hearing will be limited to the information already given, which is the amount of individuals responded from the rapid force. this hearing is not specifically about september 11, but is intended to clarify much more failures, accountability, decisions. i do not think any of us figure that since four people, something went wrong. i would recommend the entire committee have a classified briefing as to any and all other assets that were not drawn upon, but could have been drawn upon. i would ask the gentleman to respect that. i would yield the gentleman one minute to clarify. >> ok. mr. ambassador, can you clarify any answer around that question that may not violate -- >> certainly, sir. the american embassy annexes and benghazi consisted of two separate compounds. we cannot all fit on one compound. there were security personnel stationed on both compounds. there was a mutual assistance arrangement that had been
worked out by the regional security officers. if one compound came under attack, security personnel would flow from one to the other or vice versa. it is a common practice. we are very interested in making sure that we have the maximum utilization in any country and we do that and we are certainly mindful and respectful of the general security concerns. >> thank you. >> mr. nordstrom, during your time, were those other people under any of your control? >> i am glad you asked that question. in being completely cognizant, because i have some of the same concerns, all of the people there were under the chief of mission.
but not necessarily all the security people came under my control. >> thank you, i think that clarifies that. we now go to the gentleman from oklahoma. >> i need to shift my questions little bit from what i intended based on the conversation we have had so far. can you clarify for me, where were you working september 11? were you in the washington area? >> i was in the ds command center on the evening of the event. >> did you follow what was happening in real time? once they alerted the alarm. >> they were making multiple phone calls and it was very important they communicate with the annex in tripoli because this is for additional
resources were coming from. it would hang upon us and call us back. >> after a very long night for them, they are evacuated out into tripoli. were they in communication with the ones that got to tripoli? >> no. at that point, embassy tripoli took over communicating. >> they notified us when they got to the hospital. they notify us when they were in route. >> these are your folks. i cannot imagine the emotion of that for you. you had no other connection to know what happened, the details. these frantic phone calls, all of these things happening back and forth, they get to tripoli and you are not aware anymore? >> we continue to follow them, but half the team had to be rushed to the hospital and
treated. post -- they had just been through a horrific ordeal. >> your detailed account of this is horrific. >> providing them the comfort to just come down from the adrenaline and the horror of what happens, we respected that and we worked through our colleagues at the embassy in tripoli. >> here is my struggle. you are listening in on the command center. they get to tripoli, all kinds of conversations happening back and forth, and state department is testifying five days later they did not know what happened. that was a coordinated -- maybe this was some spontaneous event that occurred when there was constant communication happening. did someone come to you and ask you from state, was this a
protest? i would assume that the new -- that you knew pretty quickly this was not some protests that went out of bounds. it is not like there is some big group of people and 24 people jumped out and started shooting. there was no gathering. i would assume that you knew that immediately. >> it was not clear. a very large compound and each individual agent was looking at what was happening from a different perspective. >> was it clear that there was not a protest going on? it is not that large of a compliment -- a compound that you cannot see outside the front gates. >> it happened so quickly. it wsa not clear. >> the anas reports that this was some large approach -- the initial reports was that it was some large protest. ambassador kennedy said that is the best we would know even five days later. i find that hard to believe
based on your report but you are tracking what is occurring and individuals are reporting that what happened that someone did not say, here is what occurred and award protest never came out of it. -- and the word protest never come out of it. >> they were all fighting for their lives on that compound. >> i completely understand that. the testimony seems to be conflicting today. we're getting reports from state that this was the intelligence community that made this report. you were aware of what happened and others around you and folks of the embassy, i cannot of imagine, seven days later, the white house press secretary is still giving the same report. there are a lot of other issues i want to talk about, but i am amazed about this dialogue today. i am struggling with the basic facts on this. this is irrelevant to what we will do in the future. i cannot put all these pieces
together when i am getting such conflicting stories. >> there were multiple reports coming out. >> were any of the report saying there was a protest? >> there were reports that we received saying there were protests. i will not go any farther than that. and then things evolves. period. >> you said you would not go any further. i would only ask why. why won't you go any further? >> i do not want to cross certain lines in open session. >> you are testifying there are multiple reports, but you cannot tell us --
>> in open session. >> there is ongoing conversation happening. there is ongoing conversation the next morning in tripoli. i find it difficult five, six, seven days later, the same story is coming out when there was constant communication. it seems like a very difficult story for me to believe. >> if i could, as i said in my opening statement, they were multiple reports. we are trying to wreck -- reconcile the reports. we regard our responsibility to keep the congress informed. we came up very early to talk and we still have multiple threads out there. we were not about to precipitously try to reconcile those multiple threads.
>> i appreciate that. i do appreciate the two days later, as you call did a terrorist attack. yesterday, in a closed session, ask you for the 50-minute tape that exists that would allow us to see the video feed that was available. he said it was not available. -- you said it was not available. have you been able to make that available? on both sides of this -- we would like to see that 50 minutes of video that was turned over by the government. quickly. >> mr. chairman, i have made it clear to the other government entity that has this tape, i have communicated your request to them. since this -- i do not feel i am in a position to make a recommendation about an
investigative process. >> i apologize, i only learned about that briefing in order to get there for a few minutes. i want to confirm the fbi is doing the investigation. they do not have custody,another agency does. >> we were not invited. >> your committee did know about it. >> we were not invited. >> i learned about it in a discussion with the secretary of state. there were surprised to see me. i am glad i went there.
i was glad to confirm the existence of a 50-minute tape. >> we do not want to do anything to interfere with an ongoing investigation, do we? >> i would like this can need to -- this committee to have the 50-minute tape before the press has it. we should of had it before today. it is not interfering with an investigation. we were told, for example, that when the wall was blown up some months earlier, they did not sit blown up because they did not have the video equipment and it was pointed the wrong way. they did not have enough people to man the top. they did not have the people inside. much of that is beyond the scope, but since people told us what assets they did not have, yes, i would like to see what that tape did discover.
ms. lamb told us there was somebody monitoring the talks. i would like to see when they began panning them, for example. there is multiple evidence we have not gotten. i want to mention the state department would be clear that they had no objections to us having it. is that right? >> we defer to the law enforcement investigative elements on this matter. >> the fbi told me they do not have it. they do not need it. hopefully, you will stop using law enforcement. we now go to the very patient gentleman from tennessee. >> all americans mourn the loss of the four brave americans who died in benghazi.
it is important that we put their sacrifice and a tragedy in context. serving america abroad is dangerous. every u.s. veteran knows that freedom is not free. our state department personnel know that, too. sometimes civilians forget. sometimes these terrible incidents -- sometimes we're focused on other things. i would like to read an honor roll of the fallen from a previous time. these men died as victims of terrorists. it was in a different time we had a great president, ronald reagan, who was known for his strength on national defense. i was only able to find the data base of the navy and marine victims.
there are 56 dead, 46 wounded. a lot of us remember that as a peaceful time. it was not. sam novello, killed by turkish leftist, istanbul, turkey. marines wounded in a terrorist attack in costa rica. one u.s. embassy marine security guard wounded in beirut, lebanon. terrorist bombing of the u.s. embassy in beirut, lebanon. lt. cmdr killed by terrorists in all salvador. -- in el salvador.
corporal killed in a terrorist attack in cyprus. shocked by terrorist near athens, greece. -- shot by terrorists near athens, greece. hospital man wounded beirut, lebanon. michael wagner assigned to the defense office, killed. civil engineer harvey whitaker, killed. builder first-class and four marine security guards when did -- wounded in the terrorist bombing of u.s. embassy in beirut, lebanon. steelworker, a second class, underwater construction team, killed by terrorist, athens, greece. off-duty marines assigned to --
san salvador, killed by terrorist, armed with automatic weapons at a cafe. 37 killed, five wounded when the uss stark was struck by iraqi missiles. terrorist attack at the uso club in barcelona, spain. uss samuel roberts struck by an iranian mine in the persian gulf. japanese red army terrorist bombing in naples, italy. loss of an attack helicopter during operations against iranian naval forces. defense and naval attache killed by terrorist car bomb, athens, greece. that was just during one administration. a president known for his
strong defense policy. we should be thankful for the sacrifices of our men and women abroad. you are in charge of 275 posts around the world. to many americans cannot find this place is on a map much less appreciate the sacrifice and the risks involved of serving in many lawless zones. the dangers are incredible. especially when we can live in comfort here at tom. -- here at home. thank you for your service and sacrifice. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona. >> my family would like to honor the memory of our fellow patriots the lost their lives in this act of violence.
the date that will forever be regarded as a day of unity for america. i am going to come back, in an interview, ms. lamb said in may 2012 tripoli had said things are going so great -- if they're willing to give up assets and not ask for replacements, he did not need them. again, the functions that were being used for working slowly filled by local national -- the functions that they were being used for were being
slowly filled by local national employees. lieutenant wood, is it true that things were going that great? would you describe the conditions from your personal point of view? >> yes, sir. things in libya always remained difficult and uncertain and could devolve that a moment into further problems can result in loss of life in any minute. sst members were fully integrated with diplomatic security people there and worked through and under all these difficult circumstances. i have a couple of things i'm trying to find. there were numerous incidents of lawless situation, it was pretty much the norm. there was assassinations that went on of gaddafi loyalists and back and forth. insurgent activity continued along the border town it trained -- border town where it
drained a lot of the meager resources of the fledgling government to try to put down rebellious and insurgent activity. there was no control of the borders and weapons street -- weapons smuggling in and out of the country. tanks and anti-aircraft guns could be found in the possession of almost anyone anywhere in libya. tribal interest for economy competed with each other resulted in firefights. it was a common occurrence. when i first arrived on the ground in tripoli, i could recognize celebratory gunfire from actual gun fire fights. that did die off a little bit, however, we did notice an increase in targeted attacks towards americans. these indicators spelled out that the country was far from
secure and the sst was still in need at that location. >> in a document that was produced in late july, and i have the document right here, over 230 events in libya since june of 2011. mr. nordstrom included in this in as part of the general assessment. prior to this attack on our embassy, the red cross and the british consulate moved out of libya. >> yes, sir, that is entirely correct. the british consulate moved out and they had an mou with us to leave their vehicles and weapons on our compound and benghazi. they would do their work and then leave.
the attack on the international red cross was another attack that also involved us and threats to the compound in benghazi. the price for made on facebook -- the threats were made on facebook. the red cross was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades in early june. when it was attacked the second time, they made their decision they were going to give up and leave. when that occurred, it was apparent to me that where the last flag flying in benghazi. were the last thing on their target list to remove from benghazi. i voiced my concerns at the team meeting, although it was a difficult thing, the country team was left with no options to try to change the security
profile and benghazi. the resources had been with john, the decision to not renew -- had been withdraw, the decision to not renew the sst was a foregone conclusion i urge them to do something to include withdrawal from benghazi. i knew that was impossible at the time. >> you were not there on september 11. mr. nordstrom, you were not there on september 11. my understanding, several american successfully got out alive. the three armed individuals who represented libyan nationals survived.
from your experience, from your training, both of you, what is the marginal difference between everybody getting out to and half or so getting out? the state department has been saying effectively, nothing could have stopped this. this was so overwhelming. what would take? what one more armed agent make a difference? it would to mark, three more? -- would two more, three more? i understand we will never know for sure, but what is the difference between chaos and control in a fire fight? >> superior weapons and superior tactics. that is why the sst brought to the table. those are the qualities and attributes and bolstering the fact in this type of -- bolstering effect in this type
of environment. when they were on the grounds, those residents qualities were there for the use of the rso. we left, there were no longer available. >> which you agree they did bring that? >> in tripoli, i was never concerned that we would be able to repel any sort of assault there. >> thank you. >> with the gentleman from virginia yield -- to the ranking member? -- the gentleman from virginia has six minutes. would the gentleman yield to the ranking
member? >> i was hoping that the chairman -- i would gladly wait for that request, sir. >> take what you get. >> i want to go back to something you wrote in your statement in reference to the question that the chairman asked you. i am reading from page 2. having an extra foot of wall or half-dozen cards or agents would not have enabled us to respond to that kind of assault. did you write that? >> yes, i did, and i still believe that. >> thank you. >> i want to say picking up on my friend from tennessee's remarks. i was a young professional staff member in the early 1980's when ronald reagan was in the white house. our marine amphibious unit was attacked by a truck bomb at the beirut airport. dozens of young americans were killed.
i had just been to beirut on a senate staff study and surely after i returned, at our embassy was bombed -- shortly after i returned, at our embassy was bombed in downtown beirut. it is very serious business. when tragedies occur in a dangerous world, to attempt to exploit it politically, and i know we are not trying to do that here 27 days out from an election. you testified that he had concerns when you approached -- you are with the utah national guard, is that correct? you approach your congressperson without concern -- with those concerns? >> i tried to make contact with senator mccain because he made several visits to tripoli. i was unable to give a response from his office.
>> what time did you approach your congressperson? >> i sent an e-mail on sunday the september 28. >> recently. are you aware of the democratic side of the aisle made several attempts to try to contact you and to have some opportunity to explore with the the nature of those concerns you share and possibly to understand what you might be testifying today? a common practice, by the way. >> i assumed the information i was giving would be sure to the whole committee at some point. >> that is why you did not respond? >> yes. >> you were not encouraged or discouraged from talking to the democratic side of the aisle in preparation for this hearing?
>> it was easier for me to talk to one point of contact with everything else i had going on. >> thank you. ambassador kennedy, is there an ongoing investigation into what occurred in benghazi? >> yes, there are two ongoing investigations. what is being conducted by the -- one being conducted by the fbi and another is being conducted by the accountability review board, which is a congressional remanded in process that comes into being after eight tragedy of this nature. >> when do we expect those investigations to be completed? >> i cannot speak to the fbi investigation, sir. that is beyond -- i know the secretary has asked the accountability review board to proceed as expeditiously as possible while making sure they are thorough and accurate. >> we're having this hearing as
those investigations have not completed their work or provided their findings. >> that is correct. >> if i am understanding, it is hard for me and others to follow what we're trying to get at here. would you agree, mr. nordstrom, that the libya i experienced briefly, i was in libya the same amount of time. i do not know, did he go to benghazi? >> i was not allowed to go. >> he and i both went to tripoli. it seemed to many people with too many weapons. lots of militia. no matter how many security personnel we might have had in
the field, that was a problem at that time. would that be an accurate assessment? >> that was one of our major struggles, trying to figure out who was too. -- who was who. >> inherently unstable as we are trying to transition from gaddafi to something we hope is more democratic and more stable. >> correct. >> ambassador kennedy described it as we're going back and forth about needs assessment. it was your recommendation that the team be extended a third time. your view was, we are trying to graduate from that and we think we have the assets to do that. therefore, at that request was not honored because it was felt that it was not needed? or what? >> what we were trying to do is build a state department capacity to replace the personnel we borrow from the
department of defense. the sst was great, and we appreciated the assistance, they provided some airport analysis. provided medical capability. the state department replaced it with its own medical capability. they provided communications capability. we replaced that with the state department communications capability. they also provided a direct security assistance personnel. wonderful colleagues from that unit. we're replacing them by building an inherent state department capability and my colleagues believed we had achieved that balance between what the state department could provide and what the military had been providing to us when we were not ready to assume those responsibilities. >> thank you. >> you got that extra 30 seconds.
>> you are always generous. >> we go to the gentleman from idaho. >> what of the most difficult -- one of the most difficult jobs i have as a congressman is to call the families of the men and women who lose their lives in service of this country. i take that responsibility very seriously. i am looking right now and i am really confused by some of the statements that you are making. in particular, you say, for example, if any official, including career official, they would have said what ambassador rice said. the information she had is the same that i had at that point. can you explain to me how it was that on september 12, you
told congressional aides that you believed it was a terrorist attack? >> congressman, i told them it was my personal opinion. i also believed that it was because of the nature of it that was a complex attack. >> how can you sit here today -- the following day, you had an idea that it was a terrorist attack. i understand you claim you are not a security expert. how can you claim today that he would've made the same statement -- you would've made the same statement? >> the ambassador was asked certain questions about information that she had in her possession. that was the same information i had in my possession. >> you came to a different conclusion. >> no, sir, i did not.
>> yes, you dead. -- yes, you did. he said there were multiple reports. you did not want to specify what those multiple reports were. can you tell us, at least, when those multiple reports came out? >> i would have to go back to refer to notes. >> did they come out the day after the incident? two days after the incident? >> i will be glad to get that information. >> you knew you were coming here to testify before congress. there were multiple reports. you cannot tell us when those reports came out? >> as i said earlier, there were an evolving series of reports every day since the top of september. -- since the 12th of september.
>> will the gentleman suspend? >> i want to make it clear. the gentleman is asking a reasonable question. to the best of your ability, we know that seven days after the attack, there were false statements made. he is trying to figure out how many reports continue to come to use seven days, six days, five days. give us your best estimation and we will let you be accurate for the record. >> can you answer that question? >> i am not going to speculate on numbers that i do not firmly in my head. >> can you tell me if there was at least one report before september 16 that contradicted what the intelligence community was telling you? >> i do not remember a report that contradicted what the intelligence community was telling us. >> there were several reports. he said there were multiple -- you said there were multiple
reports that have different conclusions. >> in response to an earlier question, you are asking me to go into the nature of classified reports and i cannot do that in the session. >> ok. it is pretty clear that you are coming here with information about reports -- i think we will have to have a classified hearing at some point. i have a quick question. given the information that you saw on tv and your knowledge of the situation in libya, did you come to a conclusion as to whether this was a terrorist act or whether it was based on sound film on the internet? >> it was and still be recognizable as a terrorist attack -- it was instantly recognizable as a terrorist attack. >> why is that? >> my prior knowledge there, i
almost expected the attack. we were the last flag flying. >> mr. nordstrom? >> the first impression i had was that it was going to be something similar to one of the brigade's we saw there. the brigade that has been named in the press. it was a unit or a group that the personnel and i had talked for quite some time. we were concerned about. that pacific group had been involved in east -- that specific group had been involved in a similar incident at the end of june involving the tunisian consulate in benghazi where they stormed back facility in protest what they claimed was an anti-islamic film. >> thank you very much. on september 16, ambassador rice went on tv, at the direction of this administration, she was not there on her own.
i'm sure she has something better to do on a sunday morning. she told the american people but all of the intelligence information led to only one conclusion. it is clear that intelligence experts, security experts, and even ambassador kennedy, looking at the information that was happening, could have concluded something different. i think that is outrageous and shameful. >> we now go to the gentleman from illinois. >> i want to thank all the witnesses for participating. i also want to commend all the brave men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis by serving in these high risk areas. i also extend my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives or were injured during this tragic attack.
following the death of gaddafi, libya and its citizens or entered a critical transition period. ambassador stevens once described this as "a time of great excitement as the libyan people first experienced freedom, but also a time of significant trepidation of what might come next. " ambassador stevens obviously it was correct. ambassador kennedy, benghazi was the cradle of the revolution. could you explain to us the importance of the diplomatic mission in libya and the special post in benghazi?
>> absolutely. benghazi was the cradle of the revolution. there is essentially two major parts of libya, east and west. in order to help the libyans move forward, to take advantage of their new-found freedom and to build a democratic structure, and we wish for any nation to have, we could not hunker down, we cannot stay out. the state department has to go into harm's way. if we're going to advance u.s. national security interest, we cannot retreat. we have to go where the action as. -- we have to go where the action is. we will take every step we can to mitigate the risk to our personnel abroad, but we cannot in those risks. we cannot stay out of the action. we have to go there. because of the importance of benghazi and the development of the new libya, we had to have a
forward operating location there and we had to have visits there by ambassador stevens. >> thank you very much. can you describe some of the challenges faced by security officers in analyzing security risks while allowing the diplomatic mission to interact with the local leaders and individuals and still be effective? >> that was one of the tensions that we always hide. we are -- we always had. we understood the need to engage across a wide spectrum of programs. that was one of the main reasons we wanted that security resources so that we could deploy sufficient resources to respond when there was a problem. there was not open warfare at all times in libya.
generally speaking, we saw a lot of improvements. it was fairly permissive during the daytime. things started to heat up after hours. we had sort of a joke, i saw that it was in the newspaper. in libya, you would be fine until you are not. our problem was if someone found themselves in an issue, we had three officers trapped in the prime minister's building when it was stormed by fighters protesting a pay issue. where we're going to have sufficient people who could respond -- were we going to have sufficient people who could respond and extricate those people? with time and with less resources, we would not have that. one of the frustrating things i found early on, i was pleased with the planning to get us into libya. the frustrating thing i found
was once the first team started to expire at 60 days, there was a complete and total absence of planning that i saw in terms of what we were supposed to do from that point. when i requested resources, when i requested assets, instead of supporting those assets, i was criticized. somehow it was my responsibility to come up with a plan on the grounds and not the responsibility for ds. i raise that specifically in a meeting with the ds director. at 60 days, there was no plan and there was hope that things would get better. >> could i ask for unanimous consent for 50 additional seconds? -- 15 additional seconds? could you tell us how security risks are evaluated?
>> we have a formula we tried to use. it is not a quadratic equation, but we look at the possibility of the government, the threats against us post-government, counterterrorism capability, the physical plant we can muster, the ability to get sufficient local guard capability. we put all that together. in the end, this is an inherently risky operation. we cannot withdraw always to fortresses. we tried to place as we believe we place in libya on the basis of quality and all the information we had to date, we could a security program in place. that is what we'll call risk mitigation. if we cannot achieve that level of risk mitigation, as we did
in damascus or as we have done and other locations, we simply remove or personnel from there -- we simply remove our person nel from there because we cannot achieve that level of risk mitigation. >> with that, as a favor to the former chairman, i ask unanimous consent, he had two minutes to speak out of order. >> i will be brief. first of all, you said al qaeda is growing and it is exceeding our goals in libya right now. is that correct? >> i would make that assessment. >> mr. nordstrom, you said a another terrorist group loosely affiliated with al qaeda is very active there, too. >> i would not say it was
affiliated. it was one of the brigade's which fell under the control of the libyan government. >> it is a terrorist organization. >> and not according to the libyan government. it was one of their pseudo militias. >> what is your assessment? >> we were concerned that it was an extremist organization. >> don't split words. it is a terrorist organization. ms. lamb, there were three mobile security detachments. they were supposedly asked to stay. you are required to make a decision. they left and they were not replaced. there were supposed to be back filled by diplomatic security agents. the 16 troops -- you said you
were watching in real time. the 16 troops that were replaced or supposed to be replaced were going to be replaced, you said, no. there were going to be in tripoli. they not only worked in tripoli, and when needed, they went down to benghazi. is that not right? >> they made 2-3 -- >> they were not there, so they were gone. and you decided that they shouldn't be redeployed. >> secretary kennedy has stated, the specialized skills they brought when it came originally had been back filled by other parts of the state department. the specialized -- >> but not with u.s. military. that is all i need to know. >> no, sir. > would your response -- it looks like you were chomping at the bit.
she mentioned specialized skills. would you agree? >> i would not agree. a special forces soldier is way above the skill level of a hired local national armed with a pistol. or even the agents on the ground. >> thank you. i think i remember the quote, never take a knife to a gun fight. we go to the gentleman from connecticut. >> i add my gratitude to those members of the diplomatic corps and the military who are putting their lives on the line for this country. my sympathies to the families of those that were lost. mr. chairman, i think you have one of the most important lines of questioning about 20 minutes ago when you were inquiring as to what level of security it might have really been necessary to repel this attack. i wanted to pursue that one
step forward. >> your characterization is almost exact. i was talking about in order to extricate those who otherwise died. you cannot rappel forever -- you cannot repel forever typically that size force. >> i want to expand on that line of questioning. the numbers that we are arguing today, one or two additional security forces, six or seven armed security forces, may not make the difference. you did not have the chance to answer that question. when you look back on this attack and you look at what was requested versus what would be necessary to either fully extricate everyone or to fully repel an attack such as this, you think there is any amount of reasonable numbers that could have been present on the ground there today at the time that would have prevented this
attack and this tragedy? >> i am hesitant to speculate on specific numbers. i think it goes without saying that having more resources on the ground is generally not something you will turn down in a firefight. i would rather have more guns, more special forces, more soldiers to have combat experience. i would rather have more armed agents on the ground. the more of those you can bring to bear, the outcome is going to tip in your favor. >> a similar question to the ambassador. we shudder at the notion at an attack like this could happen in the future, that this exceptional event in which 120 attackers armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades could pose a threat to an installation. what is our position on trying to equip our outposts on the
kind of armor in staffing necessary to repel an attack of this size? is that possible and does this attack reef frame your position -- does this attack reframe your position and our country's position in the terms of the resources we give our outposts? >> we are never going to be able to achieve a defense of an american facility abroad. against that level of lethality with internally generated resources, what we try to do and we have done it in many places around the world and we are still constructing more and more, we construct new embassies and build into those new embassy's physical protections we hope will permit our personal who will withdraw into that building with the capability to
wait until the host government as he has been required to do under the vienna convention and diplomatic law responds. but a attack -- an attack of that kind of lethality, we are never going to have enough guns. very diplomatic service, we have -- we are a diplomatic service, we have some of the finest law enforcement professionals in the world, but we are not an armed camp ready to fight it out as the u.s. military does. >> what have we learned and what has potentially changed if we cannot repel this kind of lethal attack? are there changes you can share with us as to how we protect our installations above? >> the accountability review board is going to judge whether
our security there was adequate for the information available to us, whether we implemented it correctly, and whether or not there are lessons learned. >> they will make recommendations? >> yes. >> thank you. we know there are some members to have flights to catch. if anyone needs to go first, please inform the chair and we will reserve the right to take people out of order. for now, we get to the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. nordstrom, you may comment -- complete and total absence of planning. you were brought to the country, part of the team that was in place to be responsive and provide security.
one of three teams of 16 people associated with the department of defense not coming from the budget, but nonetheless providing, and i see a tale of two cities. while you have that kind of force early on in the process, notwithstanding your request, continuously, that group has worked down from three teams to finally one team toward the end instead of 16. your final request in which it is eight. at the same time, we see a worsening of the circumstances. this is a draft from february of the month. overall security positions continue to be unpredictable. large armed groups not under the control of the central government continue -- the security to support teams was central to providing static --
was essential to providing static security in the absence of a local guard force. we saw a litany of issues, an ied thrown into the outpost, a second one -- we have received a litany. was there that capacity to be able to provide the kind of security you thought was necessary while things continue to get worse? able to provide the kind of security you thought was necessary while things continue to get worse? >> yes. i thought that was the genius behind the design and construct. it brought all the elements of government power together for the embassy, the diplomatic, informational, it gave them the military side of that governmental power we could project abroad and gave them the
expertise of some of the finest quality soldiers in the world and the backup resources they could tap into. to provide them with the intelligence and capabilities, why they would turn that asset down is best answered by themselves. >> let me ask you about the process called normalization. there was an effort to transition from people who were trained here by the united states, our soldiers, who were in a country into a transition to trained locals, largely libyans. there was a posting that would be put out where they ask for people to apply for those positions. you were there. part of your responsibility was to train those locals to be able to do the work from your professional opinion -- where -- were a sufficient number trained to provide the kind of security that should have been necessary in the circumstances?
>> the individuals we trained were local libyans. the sst participated in training some of those individuals, but the caliber and quality was subject. i can see where they're dealing with numbers on this end of the table, adding up numbers on a piece of paper. i think it reflects in this description of the benghazi compound not being accurate and the fact that the security that was there had to sleep with their weapons, with secured communications. they did not have the complete understanding of how difficult it was or failed to recognize that. >> your response that there needs to be something where these professionals are replaced by locals who are not sufficiently trained to do the
work? >> this is the same model we used and it has been very successful. >> did you take any time to listen to the reports coming up during the time the events were getting worse? not the same model, but was there specific attention paid to the events in country? >> yes. at the same time, post reduced their travel policy. instead of moving with full motorcades, bailout personnel to go out with an embassy driver and hard car. the positions being filled by this team and by our team members had been reduced. they were using a quick reaction force that was available for multiple people to be moving with drivers and it reduced the numbers that were needed at post. when asked to do a function earlier in his testimony today, erik nordstrom cited the fact
that he had requested 12 armed, plus six more. in essence, we worked out with his desk officer, they outlined a program that he needed 21 armed security personnel. we made a commitment from washington that we would provide him with 23. it has not dropped below that number since that commitment was made. >> mask 1 additional question? >> briefly. >> ambassador kennedy, reports have been made, public report in which it has been stated that the imprisoned brigade -- this was on cnn -- is believed to have been one of the group's suspected of carrying out these terrorist attacks? cnn has reported that. are you aware of any determination that this point in time in which there has been any discussions within the
state department for the potential transfer or release of the blind sheik from american security? >> i am unaware of any such discussions. >> at the state department, this was in september, the state department said the topic had not come recently from any senior officials and egyptian authorities. no discussions, whatsoever, that involve the state department that involve the transfer or release of the blind sheik from incarceration? >> that is correct. i am unaware of any such discussion. >> are you prepared on behalf of the state department to make an unequivocal statement that there will not be a release of the blind sheik? >> i'm not going to appear to avoid that question, but i am the under secretary of state for management. i have a series of responsibilities and that is a
question i will be glad to take for the record to get a complete state department position for you. >> thank you. you are trying to enter the previous question? >> i would like to make a couple of points. it was a mess -- it was mentioned we shifted to a lighter security profile. that was done in march because we had 18 ds agent and we were told was going to move to 12. three teams down to two. there was an emergency action cable dated in march that specifically references that. if i recall, the tone of that was since we had no choice, we have no other options but to move to a model moving from man-to-man defense to a zone defense. i think that is an important
point to make. the other. that was made earlier about the reduction of sst by six persons, that is something colonel wood could back me up on. they did not leave country. those six sst were on a compound, could provide internal defense support. what they were doing was involved in training and liaison with libyan special forces. why were we doing that? as i testified before, we have no ability to call upon a host nation, forcing the event we were attacked. the conclusion was one such force we might be able to count on. we saw that very much as bolstering our internal defense and footprint. >> we placed in front of you something a different whistle blower gave us. is that the document you were
referring to? from march 28? >> this is a specific one in terms of a follow-up for support. there was an earlier document in march where we adjusted our movement transportation because we simply would not have the bodies to provide a security agent in each vehicle. >> thank you. i request that earlier document be taken to help and delivered to us. -- out of your review and delivered to us. would you do that? >> i will take that request, yes, sir. >> i am asking you now. >> mr. chairman, i have not had a chance to review the document. i have not -- >> wait a second. you cannot tell us you were going to allow the documents that you have in camera review of.
i will enter into the record the march 282012 and specify the earlier document is being withheld by the state department. hopefully you will reconsider so it can be put in the record. >> i did not say i was denying it. im simply saying that since have -- >> would you put the document in front of the ambassador, please? would you put that in front of the ambassadors of he could see it in camera? you will have to remove it, it is an unclassified document, said the ambassador can see it. with that, with the staff make sure this one is being distributed while we are seeing whether we can get the other one?
it has been distributed. not wanting to delay this any further, we will come back to this. with that, we go to the gentleman from pennsylvania for five minutes. thank you for your patience. >> thank you for all of you being here today. the question is not about patriotism and heroics of the people lost their lives that day. it is what can we do to prevent that from happening again? i am surprised. i come from western pennsylvania and people look at things in a different fashion. when i'm not down here amid all these brain-dead intelligence and you get home and talk to people, if i were to say to you, what is 9/11 mean to you? >> this last 9/11? >> it an attack upon the united states of america. >> the same. >> absolutely.
>> if you can connect the dots right here, why in the heck it take so long or all of these highly briefed and intelligent people -- intelligent people to figure out it wasn't a 15 minute youtube video? it was a 9/11 event, a terrorist attack? i don't know about this stuff what is classified and unclassified -- i sat in a members only briefing on the september 20 of with secretary clinton and some other personnel. is that something we are not allowed to talk about? by if it was in a classified setting, the only thing i think is appropriate in any inconsistencies you seen in testimony today, you could relate otherwise the specifics, i could not get it. >> it all comes down to what caused this. i read your testimony and i think it would be horrible to watch in real time what was going on.
i read another account from that same night -- this is about the ambassador. at 8:30 p.m., he said good night to a visiting turkish diplomat outside the compound and the streets were empty. but at 9:40, noises, gunfire and explosions were heard in the building. it is absolutely preposterous to me that we would watch ambassador rife go out and say five days later that i would sit in a briefing -- you have it all wrong. this is the results of the 15- minute youtube. we are either in the nile and i know other members are concerned because i have to tell you is very unfortunate that terrorists don't recognize this is an election year and they tend to do with a want to do it anytime they want. when they have a weakened
position around the world, and we leave our people as unprotected as we do and say this is terrible because this is 27 days before an election, why are we bringing it up now? i asked the same question. where the heck were we before this 9/11? why weren't we questioning it then? my goodness. 230 incidences' between then and 2012. two of which took place at the scene and we are still saying i think it's the result of the video on youtube? this is based on intelligence. you say you couldn't possibly have had a different idea about it than secretary rice did when she went before the nation on september 16. i'm going to tell you, this thing smells. it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
for you to come in here and say it was based on some of the things i knew but i can't tell you all that i knew -- we have four americans dead. i have to tell you, it's very upsetting for me to go back home and look at those people and i, people who don't do what we do here with all the briefings and intelligence, just guys to go out every day and come home and they can figure out what we are still trying to figure out and pieced together and you watched it in real time? the ambassador said goodbye to a turkish friend and everything was quiet. my goodness. they got ahold of that video between 8:00 27:40 and decided to go crazy and africa is on fire? thank you for pointing out as mr. romney did that hope is not a strategy. i feel sorry for you and lieutenant-colonel would to have to come here because you are on the ground. you are not watching in some faraway room in real time. your people are there in real
time. we've watched our colleagues be killed. the question doesn't become what is it that we didn't know? it is because we have become lax. we have done down. by the way, i know it's about the money, although i saw a list of things that were able to do. did you know the embassy in vienna in early may, we did a beautiful presentation of the embassy going green. spent $110,000 on an electrical thing to plug the cars and. we had 100 people and worshiping -- were sipping champagne and my goodness. september 11, we had a tough day. a couple of bombs in the road. >> thank you. >> i have to say i know i'm going over, but the people of america should be outraged to have to sit here and listen to what we're saying and say what
are we doing to protect the other embassies? they are true patriots. but you know what they rely on? the state department for their security, and we let them down. >> there was no question, ambassador. i perceived no question. with that, we go to the gentleman from florida for 5 minutes. >> mr. nordstrom, earlier in your testimony, you were discussing your recollection of the conversation you had with two agents regarding the denial of the extension of the -- it is your understanding you are not to request an extension? what is correct. >> who was on the other end of the line? >> i was on the telephone with mrs. lamb. -- >> she did tell you that? >> that's right. >> just the other day in an interview with committee
indicated on your july 9, requesting security personnel, you did not formally request an extension. you just made a recommendation. can you explain the difference between a recommendation and request? i felt that was a clear request for resources. >> have you done it before with the idea that it was a request? >> i believe it was titled request. >> and it was a denial of that extension? >> we never actually received a response. >> correct. >> did you see any further effort to follow or make a re- request. ? >> i believe that was prior to sending in the cable. instead of specifically asking for amnesty or whatever, we said -- sft or whatever, we
said, give us the 13 bodies, where you come from, and that's the way we crafted the cable. >> you testified that you trusted your rso's in the field. how you justify that saying he would not support an extension? >> the cable indicated any of the credit -- >> any -- before any of the cable was a phone conversation. >> correct. >> he would not supported at that time. >> we had department of state security assets that could do the same functions. >> that was explained to him as well? >> yes. >> lieutenant colonel wood, i understand your this senior officer. -- you were the senior
officer. >> yes. >> do you have any reason to believe if you had to go up your command for a request from the state department that they extend the tour of duty, that your chain of command would not grant that? >> the general was fully supportive of extending the sst as long as they needed it. >> their resources were available? >> absolutely. >> have they been there, it would have made a difference? >> they made a difference when i was there. they were a deterrent effect. >> ambassador kennedy, everybody has been beating this and i understand this, but i want to reconcile in my own mind. we have the official statement from the state department that this protest, this attack was the result of a video that was controversial, yet the next day, the president of libya says it was not as a result of a controversial and video.
in fact, he had no doubt it was an act of terrorism. my question is, is the libyan intelligence so superior that they knew within 24 hours it was a terrorist attack and within six days, we're saying it's the result of a video? >> i'm going to take the liberty here and correct one. if i might. you asked the colonel if his team would have made different -- >> the death gentleman from florida controls the time for the questions he wishes to ask. >> the intelligence between the libyans and americans was just not the same. if they were more superior, and you testified just earlier that you were gathering information, that's why you didn't say it was a terrorist attack, then why in the world did you say it was anything at all when you put jay carney out there and ambassador rise to say this was an inflammatory reaction to a
controversial film? it begs the question -- what happened was a result of political pressure crumping professional protocol. was it not? >> i have been a career foreign service officer for 39 years. i have served every president since richard nixon. i have directly served six secretaries of state, democratic and republican. on my honor, no, none political pressure was applied to me in this case by anyone in the state department, at the national security council, or the white house. >> it was a professional protocol malpractice. >> we now go to the gentleman from south carolina. >> thank you. for almost a year, there was an
escalating pattern of violent. attacks on the conflict in benghazi, attacks and assassination attempts on the british ambassador, attacks on the red cross, judges assassinated, and the murder of four americans, including our ambassador to libya. just a few weeks before that, our embassy in libya said this to the department of state -- the security condition in libya remains unpredictable, volatile, and violet. -- violent. mr. chairman, despite what would appear to any reasonably objective observer as an escalating pattern of violence, including sophistication, coordination, and management, this administration blamed the murder of our ambassador and three others on a video. don't take my word for it, let's look at what ambassador rice herself said -- our current assessment is that what happened in benghazi was "in
fact, initially a spontaneous reaction." i don't know what the phrase "in fact" means in diplomatically please put in a courtroom, it means it's a fact. she went on national television and said not as this ambassador has said, i have to speculate and i to get all the information. she said it "in fact." this was a spontaneous reaction to what transpired, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in cairo. then she proceeded to say the attack was spontaneous. i can think of few things more and the medical and a 12-month long prologue of violence in libya. then she said she relied solely
and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided. i would like to have another hearing where we can ask ambassador rights under oath who told you what, when. you are going to blame the intelligence committee, come before the committee and tell us and told you it was the video. who in the intelligence community said it? who in the diplomatic community blame this on a video? then we move to jay carney, the spokesperson for the free world. based on information, our initial information that includes all information, we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack. what we saw was evidence it was sparked by the reaction to this video. that's what we know thus far based on evidence, concrete evidence. you know in a former life, i spent all time in the courtroom.
when i hear the phrase concrete evidence, it means something to me. that's stronger language and saying something is "in fact." to representatives of this administration gave demonstrably false statements, not just to us, but our fellow citizens on national television. as the explanation for the is demonstrably false statements, as my colleague from florida just ask, was it negligent? was it a reckless disregard for the truth? or was it more nefarious than that? the american people are reasonable. people understand investigations take time. what they will not forgive is being misled. we want our questions answered and i want them answered by the people who went out before the american people and fought to mislead them by blaming this on a video when there is no evidence, concrete or otherwise, to support the assertions made
by this administration. i just had a conversation out back. he still get emotional talking about what he saw in libya. there were four brave americans who died under circumstances we can scarcely fathom. the terror, the fear, the anarchy of being killed in that fashion. they did what their country ask them to do. they stood under dangerous circumstances even after request for security were denied. they stood there post. the least we can do is stand this meter post we have been assigned and the man this administration speak the truth to the people is supposed to serve. this was never about a video. this was never spontaneous, this
is terror. i want to know why we were lied to. i yield back. >> as an officer of the court, i'm looking at the transcript from the date, and i will read it, if you want. let me see your and accuse one of our fellow citizens and secretary rice of lying, that's a very serious statement. i'm very concerned about that because he made it clear over and over again he was dealing -- she was dealing with the information she had at that moment. i looked at every single interview and i think we ought to be very careful, just as the gentleman talks about he wants the truth to come forward, i would be happy to have mrs. rice come up here, but we have to be careful, a distinguished attorney, and she made it in
the attic, this is the information i -- emphatic, this is the infomation i have at this moment. >> i appreciate the gentleman's comment and i would inform the committee that the ranking member and i will be requesting a classified interview at the earliest possible date, perhaps as early as next week, similar to the one ambassador kennedy was in yesterday. i will inform both sides as soon as that has been granted. additionally, it is our intention to follow how one week after this people would say with certainty is true that we now know not to be true. i appreciate the ranking members statement. and i think the gentleman from south carolina. we now go to the ever patient senior member -- i'm sorry -- we get to the equally patient member from texas. >> i'm not sure my wife would agree with you on patients. >> she is more patient than you.
we have mattered. >> we have a list of four brave americans who gave their lives for this country. ambassador stevens and three others. and i think my colleague did on the head. at best, this is negligence. we have an ongoing pattern of request for more help and it's not going up the chain of command. how many more people are going to have to add to this list? that is what i want to pursue in this line of questioning. i will start with ambassador kennedy. are there other indices, other state department outpost's asking for more help because of volatile situations that are not getting it? >> in volatile locations, no, sir. our sources need to confer with post management because it is a matter of bed space and
logistical issues and the request and justification for what these personal will do. it is granted if we don't have permanent assignment to -- it is granted. if we don't have agents, -- >> it's not that you don't have the money to do this? >> it is a volatile situation. we will move assets to cover that. >> did you consider a libyan to be a volatile situation? >> absolutely. the desk officer sent e-mail and came to an agreement. we were trying to get eight clearly defined assessments on exactly what they needed out there. >> how long does this have to get tied up in bureaucratic red tape? this sounds like we are on fire company firemen do we send? let's just send some. >> we did provide everything he asked for. >> do you what my response to
that? the answer is we did provide resources and at the point of clarification, following on your question, there has been a large discussion about the sst team. that was a tripoli team. >> want to give to mr. nordstrom. do you think it was on fire and you communicated that urgently up the chain of command? >> i think my cables stand as they are in terms of addressing the assertion. there was not a specific or detailed list. members who are here can see it is more than detailed. i also have a number of memorandums that went back as far as february detailing not just the numbers we need it, but the specific hours they would be working and -- >> and yet you did not get
them. >> the question to be asked is, and again this was asserted after my july 9 cable, the plan was to source our security needs from the department state rather than the department of defense. >> -- >> for those resources ever provided? i think the answer is no. >> do you have anything to add, lieutenant colonel wood? >> no. >> i realize you don't have the level of information that mrs. lamb and ambassador kennedy have. but having been in the biz, are there other state department facilities similar to we had in libya that are at risk today? >> its my impression that a cookie cutter approach or some sort of plan was being applied. that's what we felt in the
field as we tried to work this situation. certainly libya met none of those requirements. >> historically, it has been the marines that protect our embassy. i need to. no further than iraq and the huge amount of money we're spending to protect our embassy with contractors went for political reasons or whatever, we are not putting marines in. is that a good idea, that we are not relying on the marines? >> i think there is a place for it. i think each location will present you with a different situation that needs to be looked at on its own merits. >> as we had the arab spring coming and the freedom and democracy coming to these arab states, we have got to be aware that sometimes there are going to be times to transition when countries are not stable. there may be election results
we don't like when people who don't like us are elected. we need to take this as a lesson to project more strength of this doesn't happen. in times, it can change in a matter of hours. i see i am out of time. >> thank you. with that, we're going to are very patient invited members of congress, starting with the senior member of the foreign affairs committee, mr. rocker. -- mr. rohrbacker. >> as the chairman of the said committee of foreign affairs, i appreciate you taking the lead in making sure we are deeply getting in the to an issue of importance to the american people. it has been suggested the budget cuts are responsible for lack of security in benghazi, and i would like to ask mrs.
lamb, you made this decision personally, was there any budget consideration and lack of budget that led you not to increase the number of people in the security force there? >> no, sir. >> that's all i needed. it wasn't a lack of money, as we have heard by some people trying to suggest that. was it a lack of intelligence? was this a failure of intelligence or lack of confidence or is this just something that will happen no matter how we try or how competent we are -- how, but and we are, we're going to lose lives? >> this was an unprecedented attack in size and ferocity. in the words of erik nordstrom. as long as we have the need to be outside the wire in these volatile countries, we can't --
>> let me just note that i do not believe that is the case. i think you honestly believe that. there are other factors involved here that make as vulnerable are not vulnerable to these types of evil forces in the world. i know we have touched on these issues of preparedness and the bureaucratic things people go through to make sure we don't have this type of suffering and loss of life. i would like to focus on not the bureaucrats planning and what could have been done and not done. we heard the list of names of those killed from the reagan administration who were killed by terrorists. i worked in that reagan administration and i can tell you not once with all of it -- when all these americans were being killed, did the
administration in any way try to excuse or in any way, these murderous attacks, as some sort of spontaneous outrage due to something the administration had done or an american citizen had done. big difference. we are talking about a mind set that may encourage evil forces in the world to kill americans. this administration has been bowling and scraping to try to prove its sincerity and friendship seeking to the islamic world since day one. it has projected not strength, but weakness and has demoralized our friends and emboldened our enemies, which perhaps has something to do with people who took a long time to plan out this kind of attack. this mind-set might be seen in a psychological minimizing as -- psychological minimizing of the threat of islam in general
and maybe even specific situations. this mind-set might be seen in situations like this when we are trying to come to the realization of what happened in a horrific terrorist attack on our people. for example, there is a mind- set that might lead people who are here testifying to not even use the word terrorism. we're talking about a terrorist attack that murdered our ambassador that not your fault, but there's a mind set somewhere that says the word terrorism doesn't come into your testimony. i would also suggest that mindset may be when people jump to the conclusion because it is an easy conclusion to blame a filmmaker and let terrorists off the hook for responsibility for these terrorist acts. that mind-set of minimizing the
threat of terrorism and blaming it on a f, freedom of speech in america, we permit a film that created outrage overseas instead of putting the blame where it belongs. that is where the testimony from mr. kennedy comes in. mr. kennedy, we need to understand that whole scenario after this event to understand the mindset that might be at play here. we need to understand the scenario of what happened. six days afterwards, we know the american people were given false information about who is responsible. you are here today and you are unable to give us that you of how that came about and the fact is, as far as this member of congress is concerned, you are engaged in stonewalling or a cover, or whenever it. let me ask you flat out, did anybody tell you not to answer
this question? >> absolutely no one. >> you have taken it upon yourself, taking what is a simple scenario -- when did you first know about this -- what did you know and when did you know about it? but you are not able to give us that answer. >> if i could answer -- let me exactly what susan rice said -- our current assessment, based on the information we have at present, is that in fact, what this began as was spontaneous, not premeditated. she said based on our current assessment. >> the retort to that is we're not just talking about her one statement. if you noticed, this innuendo and this blame for the time a immediately after, we all heard about it.
it was the film. the secretary of state used the words "the film." it's not just one speech you are talking about which you may or may not be correct. we need to get to the heart of the matter. >> thank you. but we now go to the gentle lady from florida who is extremely familiar with law- enforcement and how it works. >> thank you for allowing me to sit here today. ms. lamb, i am a former and of course -- i of a former law enforcement officer, so i'm going to go along that line. we tend to listen very intently and are trained to do so, so i believe you will understand some of the questions i'm going to ask you. mr. burton asked you at your sole discretion to deny the extra manpower, yes or no? yours will discretion, was that
your sole discretion to deny the request to mr. notes from customer >> -- mr. nordstrom? >> >> it was approved by who? >> the director of diplomatic security and the assistant secretary. >> names, please. >> [indiscernible] >> i recognize there are certain dates law-enforcement prepares for because we believe they are significant to certain groups. one of which is september 11. it is significant to which group? which group would make that significant? >> i'm not sure i follow your -- >> which terrorist group finds september 11 significant? >> i'm sure all terrorist groups. >> but mostly al qaeda, would
you not agree? yes or no? if you don't agree, say you don't agree. >> yes, i'm sure. >> we have requests, over 230 clear incidents, we have bombings that have entered our compound, yet multiple requests, over 230 clear incident, violence erupting everywhere around, and you in your agency deny security personnel that they have requested and been, on september 11, which is known to be one of those dates that all law enforcement and many people run world look at, and i'm sure you hope -- i'm sure you helped her out, why is it that after all of that, we have our ambassador to the un to go to the talk shows on sunday after work and many
other people from your agency, even here today that say with the information that we had. why is it they said it was a film? when everything, all my law enforcement training taught me that it was pointing quite differently? can you answer me, did you believe, you, on a september 11, and the morning after, did you believe it was a video? and not a terrorist attack? yes -- >> with 35 years of experience, i choose to wait until the investigation is complete before drawing a conclusion. >> that's good because at the other thing i want to draw -- i want to ask about.
with my investigative experience, i know the follow the lead very carefully and you don't go out and don't claim one thing until you do have the facts. on september 14, your agency said we have an open fbi investigation on the death of these four americans. we are not going to be in a position to talk about that and they may or may not be learning about how that happened. not who they are, how they happened, not what happened to ambassador stevens, not any of it until the justice department is ready to talk about the investigation. you did talk about it yesterday, said the department just to say they are ready to talk about it and you can go ahead and give up that information? >> we did -- >> i am asking mrs. lamb. did the department justice say you could release this
information? >> no. >> three days after the attack, you said you would not release it and -- >> the fbi has cleared everything we have said here today. >> and yesterday also? >> i was not in the briefing yesterday. >> yesterday also? >> the material we used yesterday was drawn from the same pool the fbi cleared. >> the department of justice that it's ok to release that information? >> we presented in a closed session to the congress. >> is the gentle lady referring to the press? your press conference, i sort of stated a lot of things categorically except -- for everybody except for fox. >> i think this right -- i
think the distinction i would draw is there is a difference between the investigation to her -- into the perpetrators were and a rendition of the fact that we now know ran out. there is the timeline and there is the cause. that's a distinct and i am humbly making. >> your spokesperson said you would not -- who they are, who they were, not how they happened, not any of it until the justice department is ready to talk. is the justice department ready to talk on this? >> the justice department is certainly not ready to talk about the first to -- >> the gentle lady boss time is expired. i don't think you're going to get an answer from the gentleman on that subject but i appreciate your effort. the chair will inform everybody we're not terribly interested in a second round. i'm going to ask a couple of very quick clarifying questions and and if anybody has a burning
desire, they may, otherwise we will conclude. everyone has been very generous with their time. it really boils down to there was a statement that has not uncovered any further, ambassador kennedy, that the aircraft that was available is taken away because "commercial airlines capacity was created", correct? >> correct. >> why are there five fixed- wing aircraft, at least one of them very big, and 35 helicopters in iraq even though they have commercial aircraft? >> there is no safe commercial air service available within iraq. there is a commercial air service available to and from libya, sir. >> libya is safe, iraq isn't? >> in terms of air service. specifically to move people in and out of the country. but i just want to make that clear. -- >> i is want to make that clear. i'm not trying to unreasonable
use a prop. but i used it in an earlier hearing. everyone who goes to iraq gets one of these. this is from a brigade size force of diplomatic security personnel. it looks better this way. have any of you seen this in iraq? >> i have never seen that. >> it has been told that between 8100 diplomatic personnel have been working iraq in the last year, is that roughly right? -- between 80 and 100. iraq, a new place for a boar is to be over and say, has 6000 contract personnel, 16,000 government employees -- over and safe. but you could not spare six more for libya? is that correct? or you didn't see a need for
them? >> i'm not sure where the number six is coming from? >> that was the difference between to cruise and three crews. it would have been a difference of similar numbers had to back filled with military personnel who were available and offered to you by the general. >> eric nordstrom and the desk officer agreed on a number. we agree on a number. if he needed six -- >> you are saying you don't agree on number. the number available on september 11 is not consistent with what you thought was the need when your last in country, correct? >> whether or not the numbers are agreed upon, when i left, we did not have the 12 numbers that were agreed upon. >> thank you very much. i want to thank all the witnesses -- i will close at this point. i recognize the ranking member. >> just following up on what
the chairman just talked about, ambassador, what is the budget for iraq -- just an estimation? >> i think the budget is close to $800 million, right. >> what about libya? >> much smaller than that. i did not bring that exact number with me. >> mrs. lamb, you have been in -- i have listened to the description he gave and -- of what happened, and some the asked the question a moment ago, basically why you made the decisions that he did make. i have to ask you -- i'm assuming you're always concerned about the safety of the folks there, right? >> absolutely.
>> i assume you use your best judgment trying to make this decision -- try to make those decisions. >> absolutely. we send an e-mail to post right after the last team left, offering to leave them there to continue training even though they did not have the full complement for another class of armed bodyguards. basically, we gave post 2 options. if they needed them, they could keep them there and we would be happy to train a lesser class. we also gave the option we could come back a month later and train a full class. post chose to allow a team to come back at a later date. these are assets that would have been on the ground there as well. >> the reason why i'm asking these questions because i'm just trying to put myself in your place. right now.
the implications that you are either incompetent, that you didn't give a damn, or you're some kind of scrooge, and i don't think you are any of those. i just -- i'm just giving an opportunity to respond to that. >> sir, we do have limited resources and it is very important that we have our regional security offices in coordination with their emergency action committees at post and with their ambassadors clearly laid out and articulate exactly what they need and why they need it. erik nordstrom did a fantastic job. he had a very difficult job as the first rso going in there. putting pen to paper and sitting down in coordinating a transition exit strategy, especially for the sst is a very difficult.
we engage him on a regular basis to try to come up with an exit strategy we could all agree upon and to move on to a gradually. every time the security division left, there were three, before each one left, they spoke with rso nordstrom and the ambassador at post and reviewed everything they have accomplished and what the post needs were going forward. they got permission to leave before they left post. >> are you satisfied with your decisions? >> i made the best decisions i could with the information i had. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. mr. kelly, you want to make a brief statement? >> i do. thank you. i know there is incredible pressure put on you, but you are part of the executive branch, not so much the two officers, but there is a time -- these things come at a bad time and people talk about being 27
days before the election, but sometimes you have to worry about running the country more than reelection in you have to make a decision and yet to make sure the staff you have on board is somebody you can rely on all the time. these folks have to rely on you to make the decision. it does come -- >> absolutely. >> did you mean that? i would think we have to ask these questions. if we do have people out there in far -- harm's way, are we protecting them the way we should? are we making the commitment? to put their lives on the line. i keep hearing, we did not have
the resources, but that is not true. it is parties that count. how you prioritize the money that you have? -- priorities that account. how you prioritize the money that you have? i'm trying to understand why in the world we sat back and continue to find out who to blame. the plane is that there are a group of people in the world that are really bad people and we have to deal with them. we put our people in harm's way. did we do the best job we could to protect them? they put their lives on the line. did we do everything we could to protect them? after what has happened, what did we learn from that? and you say you are a lot enforcement -- i would say that there is not a crime scene more contaminated than the one now. how would we learned from that after what has happened? this has been a long before all of us, but for those four americans who lost their lives and their families, it is a much longer day.
this hits you deeper than any of us. they were your colleagues. i know it is difficult for you to be here. as elected officials, we have a commitment to do what we took our oath of office for -- it has nothing to do with republicans or democrats. we had better look at this and place emphasis on where it needs to be. mr. chairman, thank you very much. >> i thank you. >> i will be brief. in a 13 month timeframe we had 230 security incidents in libya. when the 231st happened, the administration blamed it on at the video. we had two guys on the ground to repeatedly asked for additional security personnel and are denied. denied by people who had never been to the country have been in for a month at a time. there is a process in place according to ambassador kennedy's statements where professionals come together and make assessments and decisions
about what the field is requesting. earlier, not in my questioning with you, you said that factors that you look at, and i did not get all of them, but three, stability of the government, threats against it, facility concerns. in those three, there was nothing in libya that would say they should not get what they are asking for. stability -- the government is a transitional government. that is the name of it. threats against us -- we had 230. facility concerns -- you have admitted that the facility was not up to code. so, it seems to me that the $64,000 question is, what would it have to look -- taken to get these guys on the ground who have been there for months, what would it have taken to get the additional security personnel? when it takes 232? 250 incidents?
would it take the government that had been in power eight months, not five months? what would it have taken to do what the professionals in the field felt needed to be done to protect american assets and the life of these four individuals? i will start with you, ambassador. >> we do assessments every day of security around the world. we looked at every location. there were 235 -- 234 incidents. only 20% of them were in benghazi. the west for in tripoli or elsewhere. there had not been a single incident -- >> were the more serious ones in benghzi? >> no. they were elsewhere. there was never a single incident in benghazi of the lethality of this on the attack, which was almost unprecedented. therefore, we were very therefore, we were very carefully